Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera expressed satisfaction as his team dominated Hyderabad FC to secure a 3-0 win in Matchweek 14 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Monday. 

The Kalinga Warriors kept the Hyderabad FC defence on their toes from the start of the game. As the pressure increased on the South Indian side, a sloppy mistake from the backline gifted Diego Mauricio a simple finish, making it 1-0 at the 27-minute mark. Moments before the halftime whistle, the Hyderabad FC defence again found themselves in a clumsy position, leaving Roy Krishna unmarked right in front of the goal. The Fijian capitalized on this opportunity to send his team 2-0 up into the second half.

In the 75th minute of the match, Princeton Rebello set Mauricio up for their third goal of the night, which the Brazilian powered through Gurmeet Singh to finish the match 3-0 for Lobera's side.

Odisha FC have now moved to the top of the table with 30 points from 14 games. The head coach is pleased to have secured all three points, putting his team at the pinnacle of the table.

“I am very happy. I think we got three important points. Today we are going to sleep at the top of the table. Let's wake up, maybe in some days, but now, we are in this situation, and I'm happy,” stated Lobera at the post-match press conference.

The Kalinga Warriors will lock horns with FC Goa on Friday in what is set to be a top-of-the-table clash. A victory in that match will extend their lead to six points, somewhat compensating for the difference in the number of games played.

The Spanish tactician shared, “Our target now is trying to win the next game against FC Goa. It will be amazing for us to win at home and to get the gap between the teams to six points.”

Lobera acknowledged Hyderabad FC to be a good team and gave them credit for playing with so many obstacles. He further praised them for their ability to come up with such talented young players.

He said, “We played against a good team. A lot of merit and big respect for the work they are doing. It’s not easy to work in some conditions, but they come with young players, fast players, technical players, and they are playing with a clear idea. Sometimes we are suffering without the ball. They have a quality to generate chances and small details make it possible to change everything because in the first minutes, they had their chances also.”

Lobera started the match with one of his most reliable defenders, Carlos Delgado, on the bench but later brought him on for the last 24 minutes.

On being asked about the decision, the 47-year-old elucidated, “When you are playing three games in seven days, you need to think about also the health of the players. I need to do some rotations. I need to do something because travelling in the middle is not easy. It's not easy to manage these kind of situations. I try to avoid injuries.”

The Spaniard is extremely pleased with how his team is performing and is finding it challenging to select the best eleven to start in the next game against FC Goa.

“I think the team is working very well. They are doing an amazing job. The players and the numbers are there and it's very important for me as a coach, it is a big problem to decide the next lineup against FC Goa because I have six amazing foreign players, and very good Indian players,” he stated.

Expressing his pride in his players, the head coach said, “At the end, as a coach it is helpful to work with these, you know, these kinds of players, also this kind of person and the professionals. It's very important to have a very good team on and off the pitch. And they are doing an amazing effort. They are not complaining about the calendar or the schedule. And I am very proud of my players.”