Odisha FC will host Jamshedpur FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar as the first half of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 campaign draws to an end for both these teams on December 28, Friday.

The Kalinga Warriors have been on a phenomenal run, as they are on a 10-match long unbeaten streak. Sergio Lobera & Co. displayed impressive efficiency during their 1-0 win over Punjab FC away from home. Lobera and his side have now notched three consecutive clean sheets as the defensive solidity and the work put behind that is unfolding really well lately. They have struck an ideal mixture between youth and experience in the setup and that reflects in the exuberance that they show on the field and also the effectiveness with which they seal important moments in their favour. They have the quality in their ranks to outplay the opposition, but are also defensively diligent and well-arranged when the momentum of the game is flowing against them.

Jamshedpur FC will, however, be beaming high on confidence after a thumping 5-0 victory against Hyderabad FC in their last fixture. The Red Miners were seeking a desperate turnaround. Daniel Chima Chukwu scored a fantastic hat-trick as the ISL 2021-22 League Champions will be hoping that the Nigerian addresses their goal-scoring concerns more consistently moving forward.

What’s at stake?

Odisha FC

With 21 points from 11 games, the Kalinga Warriors have gotten themselves in a formidable position to challenge for the top honours. Odisha FC will just be hoping that they don’t let this positive momentum get disrupted anytime soon. Capable of running over opponents on their day, the team has also been smart in overcoming challenging situations to sneak important results.

Jamshedpur FC has a formidable backline at their disposal, and unlocking that would not be an easy task. However, Odisha FC will be similarly well-arranged and hence expect a toe-to-toe contest between the two teams. The forward duo of Krishna and Diego Mauricio add an invaluable element to the Kalinga Warrriors.

Jamshedpur FC

It has been a difficult season for Jamshedpur FC, but they will be hoping to make the most of the hope that must have emerged within the camp after a convincing victory against Hyderabad FC. The Red Miners have a host of creative players at their disposal, with the likes of Rei Tachikawa, Alen Stevanovic, Jeremy Monzorro, amongst others showing impressive potential all this while.

Jamshedpur FC will have to be at the top of their game in all departments and be more efficient in optimising opportunities that their creative players and wingers create. At the same time, they have to ensure that they don’t let their guard drop during set-pieces, considering that the Juggernauts can be a threat from them especially due to the duo of Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall.

Key Players

Isak Vanlalruatfela (Odisha FC)

Isak Vanlalruatfela assisted Roy Krishna’s strike against Punjab FC. The player has improved significantly this season and the consistent run of games that he is being given by Lobera is showing its results. The 22-year-old balances his defensive and offensive duties admirably well, bolstering the midfield in certain situations but also being brave enough to move forward and explore chances in and around the opposition’s box.

His decision-making in the final third has become finer and he has some senior counterparts by his side who will convert most of the opportunities that he creates for them. This is Isak’s fourth season in the ISL, but never before arguably has he been in the spotlight like this. He is gradually becoming a regular starter in the setup, and with that comes additional responsibility to produce the deliverables more consistently. Whether the player stands up to those challenges will be interesting to watch out for.

Daniel Chima Chukwu (Jamshedpur FC)

Daniel Chima Chukwu answered the call by Cooper in the previous game, but he needs to record such performances many times over to take Jamshedpur FC to where they want to be in the standings. The Nigerian is a robust presence inside the penalty box. He is always a threat in the air and has an eye for a goal that other players around him could look to make the most of. He has scored five times in 10 appearances this season and also has created 12 goal-scoring opportunities in total. He plays a fine hand in the build-up, averaging 14 passes per match and has hit over 50% of his shots on target in this campaign.

Daniel is perhaps the typical and only out-and-out No. 9 striker that Cooper has in this roster. Fitness permitted, the team should ideally be built around maximising his strengths, given that he opens up a window of opportunities for Jamshedpur FC to find the back of the net. He brings the fullbacks and wingers into play by getting into goal-scoring positions for their crosses, and also has a burst of pace that can get to the end of and strike in through balls. All in all, the 32-year-old has an important game coming up where he should look to back the performance that he delivered in the previous encounter. 

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Played – 13

Odisha FC – 3

Jamshedpur FC – 8

Draws – 2

Trivia: Ahmed Jahouh has made the most successful passes (674) in the ISL 2023-24 so far.

Team Talk

“They’re a team that has improved in the last few games. They’ve played very well. I told when we played against them earlier that they deserved more points that they had. It’ll be a tough game because they’re improving everyday, and they have balance both defensively and offensively,” Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera remarked.

“During the game we played in Jamshedpur against them (Odisha FC), it was a game where two teams played the ball along the ground. I like the way Odisha FC plays,” Jamshedpur FC head coach Scott Cooper mentioned, saying that the match will be a treat for fans who really like football.

ISL Fantasy

Amey Ranawade (4.5cr)

One goal and two assists this season

Amrinder Singh (4.2cr)

Most clean sheets in ISL history

Daniel Chima Chukwu (5.7cr)

Hat-trick in the last match

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Where to Watch

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), Sports18 3 SD (English, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam) & DD Bangla (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.