Both teams will be looking to win the game to have an edge in the top-six race.
Chennaiyin FC will be coming back to its home after the side suffered a season-defining defeat at the hands of Bengaluru FC in Bengaluru in their last game. With that loss, the side’s chances of finishing among the top six became very bleak. Thus, Thursday’s game has immense importance for the club that would be playing in front of their home fans.
Odisha FC’s initial euphoria about finishing among the top six has dampened a lot in their last few games. The side has won only one game out of their previous seven games. Currently, Odisha is on a two-match losing streak, having lost against Bengaluru and ATK Mohun Bagan in consecutive games. Thus, in order to keep their season alive, the side needs to get all three points from Thursday’s game.
In light of these, let us take a look at what the encounter has to offer.
Chennaiyin will be desperate to get a win against a struggling Odisha FC to keep their hopes of finishing among the top six alive. Even though the side is just below Odisha on the points table, there is a gap of five points between them. Hence, a win is only a bare minimum that will reduce the gap between Chennaiyin and the sixth-place side (Bengaluru with 22 points).
Chennaiyin FC are currently eighth on the points table with 17 points from 15 games. A win on Thursday will take their tally to 20 points. This will not affect their position on the points table but will reduce the gap with the immediate league leaders Odisha to two points.
With one win from their last seven games, Odisha FC will be desperate to get back to winning ways. They will be keener to do that against Channaiyin as the Marina Machans are also struggling at the moment. A win is essential for them to go back into the top six and ease some pressure. Hence, we can expect Gombau’s men to get over their last match’s defeat and go all-out against Chennaiyin on Thursday.
Odisha FC are currently placed in the seventh position of the points table with 22 points from 15 games. A win on Thursday will take the side to 25 points. This, in turn, will take them above Bengaluru on the points table and reinstate the side among the top six in sixth place.
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Injury & Team News
For Odisha FC, there are one or two niggles in the squad. One of them is assumed to be Jerry Mawihmingthanga, who actually played against East Bengal without his supreme fitness.
Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC will miss out on the services of skipper Anirudh Thapa and Jiteshwor Singh. However, the good news is, Kwame Karikari will be there in the matchday squad and might come on as a substitute.
To date, Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC have met seven times in ISL. Both sides have won two games each while the rest three games have ended in draws.
Played – 7
Odisha FC – 2
Chennaiyin FC – 2
Drawn – 3
Chennaiyin FC XI (4-2-3-1)
Samik Mitra (GK); Ajith Kumar, Fallou Diagne, Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Aakash Sangwan; Jiteshwor Singh, Julius Duker; Ninthoi Meetei, Anirudh Thapa, Vincy Barretto; Petar Sliskovic
Odisha FC XI (4-3-3)
Amrinder Singh (GK); Narender Gahlot, Osama Malik, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar; Issac Vanmalsawma, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Singh; Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Diego Mauricio, Nandhakumar Sekar
Player to Watch
Petar Sliskovic (Chennaiyin FC)
One of the standout players in a bleak season for Chennaiyin, Petar Sliskovic has definitely made his mark in this year’s ISL. He is the highest goal-scorer of Chennaiyin with eight goals from 15 games. In the absence of Abdenasser El Khayati, Sliskovic is the primary goal scorer for Chennaiyin and is doing quite a decent job of it. He would like to add to his tally on Thursday, especially playing against a struggling side at home.
Diego Mauricio (Odisha FC)
The most in-form player for Odisha in their last few bleak games has been Diego Mauricio. With eight goals from 15 games, Mauricio has been a consistent player for Odisha. He looks threatening every time he is on the ball. In their last against ATK Mohun Bagan too, the Brazilian took an extraordinary workload and kept ATK Mohun Bagan defence on their toes for the majority of the game.
Did You Know?
- Odisha FC slipped off the top six for the first time this season after their last game’s loss against ATK Mohun Bagan.
- The reverse fixture was a spectacular game of football in which two goals were scored in injury time. Odisha FC narrowly edged past Chennaiyin to win the game 3-2.
The match between Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC will take place at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on February 2 (Thursday). The kick-off time is 7:30 pm IST. The game will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.
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