NorthEast and Odisha cross swords in search of their first win of the season
NorthEast United FC will entertain Odisha FC in their first home match of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday. The Highlanders came away with a valuable point following a goalless draw away to Bengaluru FC in their first match of the season and will be eager to build on the result with a win in front of their passionate home crowd.
Odisha FC, on the other hand, began life in the Hero ISL with a loss to Jamshedpur FC and will be keen to get their first points on the board.
The Highlanders looked like a strong outfit in their first outing of the season and managed to come away with a point as well as a clean sheet from the home of the defending champions. With a bit of luck, they could perhaps even have gone on to win the match. Their talisman Asamoah Gyan looked lively and had a goal ruled offside, while also rattling the woodwork on another occasion. He’ll be hoping to register his name on the scoresheet and chances are certain to come his way with the lively Martin Chaves operating just behind him.
Jose Leudo and the rest of NorthEast’s midfield will be looking to create more for the Ghanaian striker and Chaves to benefit from as the hosts look to improve their home form, which hasn’t been great in the past two campaigns. Meanwhile, their backline of Reagan Singh, Heerings Kai, Mislav Komorski and Rakesh Pradhan will be eyeing another solid display and look to register back-to-back clean sheets.
Odisha will want to put the disappointing defeat in their season opener behind them by claiming a point, if not all, in Guwahati. Josep Gombau’s side had their moments against Jamshedpur but failed to capitalise on them. They will be hoping to produce a much better display against NorthEast and certainly have the players to do so. Odisha have a strong midfield with a good balance of experienced foreigners like Marcos Tebar and Xisco Hernandez, as well as young domestic talents like Vinit Rai, Nandhakumar Sekar and the pacey Jerry Mawihmingthanga.
Target-man Aridane Santana introduced himself to the Hero ISL with an exquisite finish against Jamshedpur and the Spaniard will be their most potent goal-threat against NorthEast as well. However, if Odisha plan on taking something from the match, producing a better defensive display than the one against Jamshedpur will be imperative. Carlos Delgado and Narayan Das are their two most experienced defenders and will need to organize the backline, while also guiding Shubham Sarangi and Rana Gharami during the course of the game.
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Provat Lakra, Kai Heerings, Mislav Komorski, Reagan Singh, Jose Leudo, Nikhil Kadam, Redeem Tlang, Martin Chaves, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Asamoah Gyan
Odisha FC: Francisco Dorronsoro (GK), Narayan Das, Shubham Sarangi, Rana Gharami, Carlos Delgado, Vinit Rai, Marcos Tebar, Xisco Hernandez, Nandhakumar Sekar, Aridane Santana, Jerry Mawihmingthanga
Did You Know?
- NorthEast conceded the highest number of goals from crosses last season (12).
- Since the 2017-18 season, NorthEast have had the worst home form, picking up just 19 points.
- After scoring first, NorthEast have not lost a single match last season.
Can the Odisha FC defence keep Asamoah Gyan at bay?
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Catch the match live at 7:30 PM only on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.