Match 37 Preview: NorthEast United look to bounce back against winless Odisha FC

Match 37 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 will witness a winless Odisha FC take on NorthEast United FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday. The Highlanders were narrowly beaten by one goal in their previous encounter against Jamshedpur FC while Odisha showed glimpses of their potential in their last outing against Bengaluru FC but still ended up on the losing side.

Odisha’s woes lie in their attacking unit. The Bhubaneswar-based club have scored just three goals this season, which is the joint lowest. All their goals have been scored in the second half and one of their main goal-scoring threats Manuel Onwu has been extremely quiet so far.

The Spaniard, who scored against NorthEast last campaign, has only registered three shots on target and hasn’t managed to find the back of the net for Odisha this season. Their issues in attack run so deep that Onwu’s three shots on target is the second highest for Odisha behind Diego Mauricio (5) in the ongoing campaign.

However, their problems aren’t just limited to their attack. Odisha’s defence is manned by the experienced Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt but the duo has not been able to keep a single clean sheet so far. Odisha have conceded seven out of nine goals in the first half of games and have also faced the most shots (48) in the opening period this season as well as the most shots on target (12).

Speaking ahead of the game at the pre-match press conference, Odisha head coach Stuart Baxter said: “NorthEast United have quite a few quick players. They play back to front very quickly and get the ball into their strikers. So whatever solutions we plan will be based on our team and not an individual marking a man closely.”

Meanwhile, NorthEast United FC will look to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. After a bright start to their campaign, NorthEast United are winless in three matches with two draws and one loss to show for their efforts. Needless to say, they will be eager to notch a third victory of the season at the expense of Odisha.

The Highlanders have scored all eight of their goals from inside the box this season and they also have a penchant for winning penalties. NorthEast have scored two times and missed twice from the penalty spot this season. Odisha, on the other hand, have given away three penalties in six games, and the Highlanders could look to exploit this weakness.

“It is a good test for us (against Odisha). After a defeat it is always a challenge to see how we are going to react. I have no doubts that we are going to react like a team that fights in every game and goes for the points. We want the victory against a side who have not been getting the results that they want. But at the same time, we know how strong they are. It’s going to be a tough game and we are going to go with full confidence because we want the three points,” NorthEast head coach Gerard Nus said ahead of the game.

Although NorthEast lost to Jamshedpur FC in the previous game, they had a number of goal-scoring opportunities and were denied a victory thanks to some robust defending. Up against a side that has not kept a clean sheet this season, a lot more can be expected from the Highlanders as they look to prove their top four credentials.

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

NorthEast United FC

Goalkeepers: Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy

Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Rakesh Pradhan, Wayne Vaz

Midfielders: Federico Gallego, Imran Khan, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela

Forwards: Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Kwesi Appiah, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhair Vadakkepeedika

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 37: Odisha FC vs NorthEast United FC

Date: December 22 (Tuesday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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