Match 97 Preview: FC Goa look to boost top-four hopes with win over Odisha

After six straight draws in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21, FC Goa will be gunning for a win when they face Odisha FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday. The Gaurs are in the fray for a semi-final spot but must start winning their games now with the likes of NorthEast United FC, Hyderabad FC and Bengaluru FC having upped the ante recently with the same ambition.

Unbeaten in their last 10 matches, Goa will fancy their chances against bottom-placed Odisha. They registered a 1-0 win over Odisha FC earlier in the campaign and have won all their previous three encounters against the Bhubaneswar-based club. The Gaurs will head into Wednesday’s clash targeting maximum points having won just thrice during their run of 10 unbeaten games.

Easy on the eye when in full flow, Goa have scored 19 goals from open play – the most by a team in Hero ISL 2020-21. They tend to score most of their goals in the second half with 16 of their 26 goals so far coming after the restart. The Gaurs possess plenty of firepower in attack with the likes of Igor Angulo and Jorge Ortiz, who have netted 12 and five goals this season respectively.

Defensively, they haven’t been the most compact though and have conceded 21 times. They tend to, particularly, struggle from set-pieces and have conceded 14 goals from such situations in Hero ISL 2020-21. Their attack has rescued their defence several times already with young Ishan Pandita coming off the bench to salvage a point for them on multiple occasions.

"Maybe you can imagine it as being easy but it's not so easy because now Odisha's players don't have a lot of stress on the pitch. They played better in the last games. Of course, it's a difficult game. They will also be thinking about the future, to fight on the pitch and give some good performances because maybe in the future they will get some good offers," Gaurs head coach Juan Ferrando said ahead of the game.

Odisha, meanwhile, are playing for pride and will want to finish the season on a positive note with some wins under their belt. They’ve only won one match so far and are currently on an eight-match winless run. They have struggled to produce their best at both ends of the pitch and have conceded 30 goals so far while managing to keep just one clean sheet. Set-pieces have been an issue for them having conceded 11 times from such situations.

On the attacking front, goals have been difficult to come by and that’s reflected in the fact that they have just four players who have found the back of the net for them. Diego Mauricio has been Odisha’s talisman and has scored nine of their 17 goals so far, which highlights their overreliance on the Brazilian attacker. The Bhubaneswar-based club also have no Indian goal-scorers in the team this season.

 “I’m going to stay with the facts. In the second half against NorthEast [in their last game, a 3-1 defeat], we had a high percentage of passing, higher than them. We also had 81% accuracy of pass. FC Goa are a good passing team. I know their tactics; I know how they will play against us. Without giving any tactics away, we will play a certain way. This season we have a tendency to start getting our game together only after the first 15 minutes, so it is important that we start straight from the off [against FC Goa],” Odisha interim head coach Gerald Peyton said ahead of the game.

Squads:

FC Goa

Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva, Dheeraj Singh

Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes, Adil Khan

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Jorge Mendoza, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Glan Martins, Amarjit Singh

Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaokar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chothe

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, Bradden Inman

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 97: FC Goa vs Odisha FC

Date: February 17 (Wednesday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

 

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