Odisha FC head coach Clifford Miranda is wary of the threat posed by NorthEast United FC striker Wilmar Jordan Gil as he prepares his team to face the Highlanders in the semi-final of the Hero Super Cup at the Payyanad stadium in Manjeri on Friday. 

Jordan is the top goalscorer in the tournament and netted four goals as NorthEast United FC beat Churchill Brothers to make the cut for the semi-final. However, Miranda feels that Odisha FC must focus more on defending well as a team than one individual. 

“I think they scored ten goals in the group stage which is the second-highest among all the teams in the Super Cup. They have one of the best strikers in Hero ISL in Wilmar Jordan Gil. He has scored six goals in the Super Cup. We have to see how we can neutralise his threat and neutralise his impact on the game,” Miranda said at the pre-match press conference.

“We will have to do it as a team. If we try to man-mark one player then some other player can cause us problems. They have other good players too like Rochharzela and we are looking forward to the challenge,” he added.

The former FC Goa assistant head coach was pleased with his team’s performance in the Hero Super Cup so far which saw them remain unbeaten in the group stage having cafes teams like Hyderabad FC and East Bengal FC. 

“I think we really played well. Even though we were down by one goal in the first game we were playing well and in the second half, we turned things around. I think the 1-1 draw against East Bengal FC was a fair one. We dealt with their danger on transitions pretty well. Against Hyderabad FC we fell behind to a goal on a set-piece and then scored one on set-piece in the second half. We controlled the game from there and got the winner,” he said.

The semi-final contest will see Jordan go up against Diego Mauricio who won the Golden Boot in Hero ISL 2022-23 but Miranda played down the battle between the two strikers. 

“Mauricio is a good player. He creates chances, he scores goals and most importantly he feels the club. But on the pitch, Mauricio and Jordan will not be in a direct battle. They are two different strikers so we should not compare the two,” the 40-year-old said. 

The Hero Super Cup winner will get a chance to qualify for the Hero Club Playoff against Gokulam Kerala for a place in the AFC Cup but Miranda is refusing to look too far ahead. 

“We are only focused on the semi-final. Nothing more than that,” he concluded.