Match 90 Preview: Odisha square off against Kerala Blasters in bottom of the table clash
Match 90 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 pits Odisha FC against Kerala Blasters FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday. Kerala will be eying a win to move up in the standings, while Odisha will be targeting just their second win of the season having got their only win in the ongoing campaign in the reverse fixture against the Blasters last month.
The Bhubaneswar-based club are currently on a six-match winless run but will be targeting a strong finish to the season. Their last outing saw them concede four goals against ATK Mohun Bagan and needless to say, they will need to be more compact and organized at the back against a Kerala team that has plenty of goal-scorers in the team.
Odisha have the second worst defensive record in the league having conceded 25 goals so far and tend to concede most of the goals in the first half. They’ve conceded 16 out of 25 goals in the opening period and are particularly susceptible from set-pieces. Only FC Goa have conceded more than Odisha’s 11 goals from set-pieces.
Offensively, they have struggled for goals all season with just three players finding the back of the net for them in the ongoing campaign. Diego Mauricio is their leading goal-getter with seven strikes so far, while Cole Alexander and Steven Taylor have chipped in with three and two goals respectively.
“They have got some good players …Without giving away the tactics, we know how they play and we will match them in every area. They play a 4-4-2 and we will probably play the same. We will make it difficult for them. If you ask me that if we can beat them, yes, I think we can do the double over them,” said Odisha FC interim head coach Gerald Peyton.
Kerala, meanwhile, have plenty of sources for goals in the team but their defensive deficiencies is what’s held them back this season. The Blasters have the worst defensive record in the league having conceded 27 goals so far and are currently on a four-match winless run.
The southerners have struggled to hold on to leads this season and lost both their previous two outings after going in front. They tend to let in most of the goals in second half and have conceded 17 times after the restart. They also took the lead in the earlier fixture this season with Odisha before losing 4-2 and will be eager to avoid another defeat that would see the Bhubaneswar-based outfit do the double over them.
“They beat us the last time around and I think we didn’t play that well in that game. We respect them very much. We are preparing as best as we can. For us it’s a very important match. We want the points because we want to continue fighting,” Kerala Blasters FC head coach Kibu Vicuna said ahead of the game.
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, Bradden Inman
Forwards: Diego Mauricio, Manuel Onwu, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Laishram Singh
Kerala Blasters FC
Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan
Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara
Midfielders: Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar, Juande, Muktasana Sharma
Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 90: Odisha FC vs Kerala Blasters FC
Date: February 11 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV