Match 31 Preview: Odisha FC look to turn around their fortunes against in-form Bengaluru FC

Winless in five matches in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21, Odisha FC take on Bengaluru FC in their next game at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Thursday. The Blues, on the other hand, were triumphant against Kerala Blasters FC in their previous encounter and will hope to carry their goal-scoring form into the game against Odisha.

Odisha have failed to score in four of their five matches this season, and the poor form of their forward line will be a big cause for concern for Stuart Baxter’s side. Their only two goals this season came against a 10-man Jamshedpur FC side, which means that Odisha are yet to score against a team with 11 players this season, a worrying piece of information for the coaching staff of the club.

On average, the club from Bhubaneswar have had just 2.4 shots on target per game so far. Out of their 45 shots, only 12 have been on target. Their two main attacking threats Marcelo Pereira and Manuel Onwu have failed to inspire the side so far. Marcelo has one shot on target in five matches while Onwu has three shots on target.

“Bengaluru [unbeaten so far in five games] have started the season well. They also had a few issues to iron out but they have been making progress and it will certainly be a tough game. But if you look at the league in general, every team that has won could have also possibly lost the game. We have experienced this in our games as well that small things have a big impact,” head coach Baxter said ahead of the clash.

However, with Bengaluru conceding four goals in their last two matches, the Odisha attackers can hope to exploit the spaces in their defence. But the task at hand for Odisha is tougher than it sounds. Bengaluru FC is a side that is known for making the most of their chances. This season, they have scored three goals from throw-ins. Their cross-completion rate is also the highest in the league: they have completed 27 of their 69 crosses. The Blues have had seven headers on targets with two of them ending in goals -- another league high this season.

“Teams like Odisha FC are very dangerous and we are all conscious of that. We know that they have been fighting for the points, it was not happening until now but one of these days they will win a game because they have the quality. They have a good head coach, good players and so it has to happen. So, there is no question that we are ready for the game and we are not overconfident,” Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat said ahead of the game.

Squads:

Odisha FC

Goalkeepers: Arshdeep Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Ravi Kumar, Ankit Bhuyan

Defenders: Steven Taylor, Saurabh Meher, Gaurav Bora, Kamalpreet Singh, Mohd Sajid Dhot, George D’Souza, Shubham Sarangi, Jacob, Hendry Antonay

Midfielders: Baoringdao Bodo, Cole Alexander, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, S Lalhrezuala, Nandhakumar Sekar, Paul Ramfangzauva, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Vinit Rai, Thoiba Singh

Forwards: Diego Mauricio, Manuel Onwu, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Laishram Singh, Marcelo Pereira

Bengaluru FC

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma, Sharon

Defenders: Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Francisco Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Joe Zoherliana, Biswa Darjee, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang

Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Ashique Kuruniyan, Deshorn Brown, Udanta Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Leon Augustin, Semboi Haokip, Naorem Singh

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 31: Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC

Date: December 17 (Thursday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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