Upbeat Chennaiyin look to leapfrog Odisha in the standings

After the enthralling last-minute success over Hyderabad FC, an upbeat Chennaiyin FC will be looking for another three points when they welcome Odisha FC to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. The two-time champions, until their meeting with Hyderabad on Monday night, were enduring a forgettable time in the league, losing three matches and collecting just a single point from four outings.

The much-needed win will have certainly boosted their confidence going into the Odisha tie. The visitors, though, are unbeaten in their last three matches and won’t make things easy for the Marina Machans. A win in the fixture will help Chennaiyin leapfrog Odisha in the points table.

Chennaiyin FC

John Gregory and Co. went into their match against Hyderabad as the bottom-placed team in the table. Their attack hadn’t scored a goal, the midfield lacked fluidity, while the defence was finding clean sheets hard to come by. Nothing more than three points would have sufficed on the night and they eventually earned it in dramatic fashion in extra time.

Strikers Andre Schembri and Nerijus Valskis were both on target and finally ended Chennaiyin’s goal drought, which lasted for close to 800 minutes. Anirudh Thapa was once again his former self, commanding the midfield and contributing at both ends of the pitch. Gregory will be expecting more of the same from the India international against Odisha.

Eli Sabia and Lucian Goian also looked solid against Hyderabad, dealing with the Hyderabad attack exceptionally well. Against Odisha, the duo will, however, face a very diverse set of challenges from the likes of Aridane Santana, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Xisco Hernandez and Daniel Lalhlimpuia.

Odisha FC

After a slow start to their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 campaign, Josep Gombau’s side have picked up the pace, accumulating five points from their last three matches. The club has also kept two clean sheets in a row.

The young squad made a big statement in their last outing, holding the very strong ATK side to a 0-0 draw. In fact, Marcos Tebar and Co will feel they should have taken all three points from the contest, with the level of possessional dominance they had. Gombau's ploy to start with Arshdeep Singh in goal instead of Francisco Dorronsoro and field an extra foreigner in the outfield seemed to work out pretty well for Odisha and fans can expect something similar against Chennaiyin. Xisco Hernandez only came on late in the second half and it remains to be seen it Gombau keeps the influential Spaniard out of the first XI for the second match running.

Odisha’s biggest improvement in the match against ATK was in defence, where Carlos Delgado and Diawandou Diagne formed a strong centre-back pairing which allowed full-backs Shubham Sarangi and Narayan Das to express themselves going forward.

The attack, though, has failed to make their chances count in the last two fixtures and will be aiming to produce a better display in front of goal against Chennaiyin.

Probable line-ups:

Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith (GK), Lucian Goian, Eli Sabia, Edwin Vanspaul, Tondonba Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Thoi Singh, Andre Schembri, Nerijus Valskis

Odisha FC: Arshdeep Singh (GK), Narayan Das, Shubham Sarangi, Diawandou Diagne, Carlos Delgado, Marcos Tebar, Xisco Hernandez, Aridane Santana, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Nandhakumar Sekar, Daniel Lalhlimpuia

Did you know?

  • Odisha conceded six goals in their first three matches but kept clean sheets in their last two.
  • Chennaiyin haven’t managed to win back-to-back matches since the end of Hero ISL 2017-18.
  • Chennaiyin FC have conceded 8 goals this season and only Hyderabad FC have conceded more.

Fan Speak:

Will Chennaiyin make it back-to-back wins or will Odisha continue their unbeaten run?

Have your say in the comments below.

Live broadcast schedule:

Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 26: Chennaiyin FC vs Odisha FC

Time: 7:30 PM onwards, November 28

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV

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