Both teams are eyeing a playoff finish this time after two disappointing seasons.
Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC are set to lock horns at the Kalinga Stadium on Thursday (27th October) in Odisha’s second home game of the season. After winning two out of their three matches, high-flying Odisha will look to continue their good run against Bengaluru in their own backyard. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC have had a rocky start to the season with one win, one draw, and one loss – the latter coming in the last match. They would like to get their campaign back on track by winning this game.
After defeating Kerala Blasters in their first home game, Odisha FC would be high on confidence. The Kalinga Stadium can be expected to be full of fans, making life difficult for Bengaluru. However, the Durand Cup winners will not be an easy opponent for the Juggernauts as they would be desperate to win their third consecutive away game.
On that note, lets take a look at what the encounter has to offer.
A win will take Odisha FC to the top of the table, ahead of current table-toppers Hyderabad FC by two points (with the team playing one more game). Thus, Josep Gombau’s men will be eager to take advantage of the home support and defeat their next opponent. With poor finishes in the last two seasons, Odisha would be desperate to reach the playoffs this season, especially with the kind of start they have had.
In this regard, each and every match, especially those at home, are very important in order to execute the team’s dream of a first playoffs finish. It will not be different on Thursday as well, with the kind of quality in the league. A small lapse in consistency can provide other teams a window to overtake them on the points table.
Bengaluru FC began this season by winning the Durand Cup. That triumph largely increased the expectations of the Blues’ fans ahead of the season. Hence, only one win from three games is not enough for the side from Bengaluru. They need to improve their win percentage and that too, immediately. Thus, Thursday’s game is of paramount importance to them.
Despite playing at an away venue, the quality of Bengaluru’s squad makes them a force to reckon whenever they take the pitch. Grayson and his men are aware of this. Thus, it is expected that they would leave no stones unturned to get a positive result from Thursday’s game. With mid-table finishes in the last few seasons, it is prerogative for the side to eye victory in every game in order to attain a top-six finish this year.
Michael Soosairaj continues to remain out of the Odisha FC squad due to fitness issues. He will not be part of the squad for a third consecutive game. Apart from that, coach Josep Gombau has assured that he has a full squad at his disposal.
There is, however, a good news for Bengaluru FC fans. Roy Krishna will be available for the Odisha FC clash. Meanwhile, Prince Ibara’s absence continues.
To date, Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC have met six times in the ISL. Among these, Odisha FC have won once, Bengaluru FC have won four games and the remaining fixture ended as a draw.
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK); Alan Costa, Sandesh Jhingan, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Namgyal Bhutia, Bruno Ramires, Jayesh Rane, Naorem Roshan Singh, Javi Hernandez, Sivasakthi Narayanan, Sunil Chhetri
Man to Watch
Pedro Martin (Odisha FC)
After their game against Kerala Blasters, it is safe to say that Gombau has a new trump card in his arsenal, i.e. Pedro Martin. The Spaniard proved to be the game changer in Odisha’s last game against the Blasters. Despite playing for only around 25 minutes, his presence on the pitch was highly impactful. He scored the winning goal for the Juggernauts as well. Odisha fans will be looking forward to something similar from him against Bengaluru as well.
Whether he features in the starting line-up or comes on as a sub, Odisha fans can be assured that his presence will again have a positive impact on the outcome of the game. Moreover, if he is able to continue the kind of form that he had shown in the previous game, he might become a regular starter for the Juggernauts in the upcoming matches.
Javi Hernandez (Bengaluru FC)
Javi Hernandez was the stand out player for Bengaluru in their fixture against Hyderabad FC. Even though Bengaluru lost the match, his work on the pitch received praise from multiple quarters, including his coach. He played as a fulcrum in Bengaluru’s midfield and aided in the creation of multiple chances. Javi needs to shoulder more responsibilities in order to take control of the midfield. Bengaluru’s gameplay will be largely influenced by how the Spaniard fares on the pitch.
A seasoned player with more than three seasons of ISL experience, Javi needs no introduction for Indian football lovers. He has shown his class in his erstwhile clubs and there is no reason for him to not repeat his heroics for his current club.
Did You Know?
- Bengaluru FC have won all major national-level trophies in India.
- Odisha FC was founded in 2019 and they have not won any major trophy till date.
- The Kalinga Stadium recently hosted the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The match between Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC will take place at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on October 27 (Thursday). The kick-off time is 7:30 pm IST. The match will telecast live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.