Match 45 Preview: Both SC East Bengal and Odisha FC eye first win of the season

The first encounter of the double-header Sunday sees SC East Bengal take on Odisha FC in Match 45 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco. Both teams come into this match on the back of draws as SC East Bengal held Chennaiyin FC while Odisha FC shared the spoils with NorthEast United FC before the New Year break.

The two winless sides clash with the aim of registering their maiden victory of this season.

SC East Bengal have shown resurgence lately, drawing three out of their last four matches. Robbie Fowler’s men have improved their game in the final third to score five times in the last three matches and with Odisha FC having failed to keep a clean sheet so far this season, Jacques Maghoma and Matti Steinmann will fancy their chances to get on the scoresheet.

“I think we have progressed well. We all know what happened at the start of the season. We had a squad we had to build on. I think we have gone better with every single game. [At the start] We found it difficult because we were playing catch-up. We were trying to train. It was hard to get to players what we wanted to do because the next games were coming thick and fast …In the last couple of weeks, there are lots and lots of positives. Okay, we haven’t won a game yet but we have lost one in four. So, positives are there, we are taking the right steps,” SC East Bengal head coach Fowler said ahead of game.    

Odisha FC will have to step up their defence, especially during set-pieces, as they have already conceded six times from dead-ball situations. Moreover, SC East Bengal have scored more than half of their goals through set-pieces, making it crucial for defenders Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt to improve their performance.

The positive for Odisha FC, however, is that SC East Bengal have also been struggling defensively. In their last three matches, SC East Bengal have conceded 54 shots at an average of 18 shots per match, with 35 of them coming from inside the box. It will be interesting to see if Stuart Baxter’s men can find the finishing touch and get a much-needed win for Odisha FC.

"What the games have shown us, not just our games but everybody's, that most games are close affairs. Whether we play a lesser or a bigger team, all games in our way are difficult. So, it's a mistake if we suddenly think that we are going to blast into a wonderful team. We got the knife at our throats but so do East Bengal," Odisha head coach Baxter said ahead of the game.

Squads:

SC East Bengal

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Sankar Roy, Mirshad Michu, Rafique Ali

Defenders: Samad Mallick, Abhishek Ambekar, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Narayan Das, Mohamed Irshad, Gurtej Singh, N Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami, Anil Chawan

Midfielders: Sehnaj Singh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Wahengbam Luwang, Bikash Jairu, Yumnam Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Meitei, Mohammed Rafique, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Milan Singh, Haobam Singh,

Forwards: Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 45: SC East Bengal vs Odisha FC

Date: January 3 (Sunday)

Time: 5:00 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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