Match 70 Preview: Struggling Bengaluru FC aim for win against bottom-placed Odisha FC

Bengaluru FC take on Odisha FC in Match 70 of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) at the Fatorda Stadium in what will be the second match on Sunday. The Blues showed signs of improvement in their last game against Kerala Blasters FC but a late winner extended their winless streak to six matches. It’s that time of year when teams in the bottom half of the table push for outright results and Bengaluru will be no different on Sunday. Bottom-dwellers Odisha, who held Hyderabad FC to a 1-1 draw in their last game, meanwhile will hope to stun the Blues and give their fans something to rejoice in what has been a debilitating season for them.

Heading into their game, Bengaluru FC will take heart from the fact that they have won all three matches that they have played against Odisha FC in the past. Earlier this season, Cleiton Silva clinched the winning goal to secure a 2-1 victory over Stuart Baxter’s side. However, the circumstances under which they play Odisha FC this time are totally different.

Bengaluru are winless in six matches, with five of these ending in losses. Bengaluru have so far scored just five goals of their total 14 in the first half of games. At the same time, they have also conceded nine goals in the last 30 minutes as compared to seven goals conceded in the 60 minutes preceding that, and this is something that has to be addressed by the coaching staff.

“It's true that this is a good chance of winning this game. But if you ask Odisha, they will say that we're not in a good run of form, so this could be a good chance for them too. We want to be disciplined, not complacent and do our best. Winning one game will take us up on the table. I don't think it's impossible and the players also have the belief. We want to halt this streak and maybe that one win will give us more positive energy,” Bengaluru interim head coach Naushad Moosa said ahead of the game.

Odisha, meanwhile, have been defensively leaky this season and taking on a side with a point to prove, they will need to be at their best. The club have kept just one clean sheet, and have shipped 19 goals this season. Odisha have also suffered the ignominy of conceding 9 goals from set pieces which is the most by a team this season. They have allowed 31 shots from set-pieces and this is a major cause for concern. Bengaluru, on the other hand, have been a renowned force during set-pieces. In their last six games, they have scored three goals and all of them have come from set-pieces.

“The coach of Bengaluru has a job on his hands because it is a big club and that is always a big task. To be honest, I think we have had chances to beat the bigger clubs. But to do that, we have to make sure that we defend properly, take our chances, and play our own game. If we do that with quality, we have shown that we can play a close game,” Odisha head coach Baxter said ahead of the game.

The Blues will be buoyed by the return of Xisco Hernandez, who will join the club as the seventh foreigner in the team. He was part of the Bengaluru team that had won the Hero ISL title in 2018-19. In that season, the Spaniard assisted five goals and his presence might help them now as they look to get closer to the top four.

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, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva, Xisco Hernandez

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

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 70: Bengaluru FC vs Odisha FC

Date: January 24 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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