Preview: Odisha FC eyeing strong response in home fixture against Bengaluru FC
Odisha FC look to get back to winning ways, while Bengaluru FC aim to find stability as they go head-to-head in the opening fixture of Matchweek 6.
The matchweek six of Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 will kick off with Odisha FC hosting Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga Stadium on October 31, Tuesday. The Juggernauts will go into this match on the back of consecutive defeats against FC Goa and Kerala Blasters FC, but they will hope that a return to home turf will help them bag their second win of the season.
Bengaluru FC played a goalless draw against FC Goa at home, but they will fancy their chances after some positive results earlier this season. It will be a tactical battle of different playing styles, with the Spanish Sergio Lobera locking horns with the Englishman Simon Grayson. Lobera has held the upper hand with 13 victories out of 19 games against English coaches in the ISL, and he will hope to extend that record tomorrow.
What’s at stake?
Quite uncharacteristic to Lobera-coached sides, Odisha have conceded games from winning positions thrice in a row now. The Spaniard is a big believer of keeping things tidy at the back, and he will have to strengthen them, to get an important victory under their belt.
The Blues produced an impressive defensive effort against the Gaurs, inspired by their goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. However, they can aim to be more efficient moving forward, with only three goals in four matches.
Iska Vanlalruatfela (Odisha FC)
The 22-year-old has been a livewire on the flank for Odisha, often cutting into the wing and getting into goal-scoring positions. Isak Vanlalruatfela is entrusted with responsibility by Lobera, with the player clocking 323 minutes across four matches. He will hope to repay that faith in the form of goal contributions in this match.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)
The goalkeeper was at the top of his game against FC Goa, making six saves and communicating consistently with the backline during set pieces. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has started the season well with 14 saves and three clearances in four appearances, and will have to repeat his heroics in this game to fetch Bengaluru a desirable outcome.
Played – 13
Odisha FC – 5
Bengaluru FC – 7
Draw – 1
Trivia: Mourtada Fall has scored thrice, tackled 16 times, and made 32 headed clearances in 13 matches against Bengaluru FC in the ISL.
“They (Bengaluru FC) have very good players, but we are ready. We are excited with this opportunity because when you lose one game, you want to play the other game very early, because it’s an opportunity to show everyone that we can come back stronger. The last game was painful for us and we are looking forward to playing the next game against BFC. We have two games at home in four days, so it’s a good opportunity for us to get points and to come back in the top positions,” Odisha FC tactician Sergio Lobera mentioned in the pre-match press conference.
“We will go to Odisha in good spirits, knowing that we will keep working and improving with every match. We know it’s a tough game, but I am sure Odisha will look at our team and think that it’s a tough game for them as well. We are looking forward to it. It’s a quick turnaround, after the Odisha game, we have got Hyderabad again so we have to look at both the traveling and the squad again, so yeah, we are in good spirits, coming off a clean sheet and a good point,” Bengaluru FC head coach Simon Grayson said ahead of the match.
Top picks & players to watch out for
Mourtada Fall (5.1cr)
Has scored twice in four appearances this season
Diego Mauricio (8.6cr)
Netted twice and created three goal-scoring opportunities in four outings in this campaign
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (5.1cr)
The goalkeeper has led the backline admirably well so far in ISL 2023-24
Where to Watch
Viacom18 is the new home of Indian football and the match between Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC will kick off at 8 PM on October 31, 2023. Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 SD & HD (English), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), DD Bangla & Colors Bangla Cinema (Bengali). In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.
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