This fixture has witnessed 34 goals in five meetings.

Odisha FC will be back in action at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday for their ISL 2022-23 reverse fixture against East Bengal. While Odisha will be entering the game on the back of their first home defeat, East Bengal will ride on the back of their first home win. In addition to their first home defeat, Odisha FC are currently on a four-game winless run. They have collected only one point in their last four games. In their previous outing, which was at Bhubaneswar, the side lost 4-2 against Mumbai City.

For East Bengal, the season has been marred with inconsistency. The side has not been able to win two games in a row yet. Thus, they would like to change that against Odisha on Saturday as they won their last game against Bengaluru 2-1, getting their first home win in the process.

In the last game between East Bengal and Odisha FC, the latter registered a brilliant comeback win. They were down 2-0 at half time but won the game 4-2. Hence, the Red & Gold Brigade shall be looking to avenge that defeat and get three points from Bhubaneswar.

In light of these, let us take a look at what the encounter has to offer.

The Stakes

Odisha FC

Odisha FC are currently on a four-game winless run. Among these four games, they have drawn one and lost the remaining. Thus, getting back to winning ways is of immense importance for the Kalinga Warriors. With teams like East Bengal and Chennaiyin FC breathing on their necks for the sixth spot, a win is highly essential to cement their position among the top six.

There is no doubt the Kalinga Warriors will go all-out to get three points from Saturday’s game. Currently, they are seated in the sixth place with 19 points from 12 games. A win will take them to 22 points and elevate them to the fifth spot ahead of FC Goa.

East Bengal

Saturday’s game is of equal importance for the Red & Golds for their bid to achieve a top-six finish by the end of the season. They have gathered a slight momentum after defeating Bengaluru FC in the dying moments to register their first home win last week. However, the side has not won consecutive games in the season so far. Thus, Constantine’s men would be keen to change the trend and win their first consecutive game. A win will make it very much possible for East Bengal to finish among the top six as it will take them to 15 points with one game less than Odisha’s tally, who will remain on 19.

The Red & Golds showcased a gritty, composed performance against Bengaluru last week. The side is currently in the eighth place with 12 points from 11 games. A win this week will increase their tally to 15 and might take them ahead of Chennaiyin FC if they drop points in the first game of Saturday’s double-header.

Injury & Team News

Odisha FC will have a fully fit squad going into the fixture. For East Bengal, Jordan O’Doherty, Charalambos Kyriakou and Kamaljit Singh are doubtful due to injury concerns. The rest of the squad is fit!

Head-to-Head

To date, Odisha FC and East Bengal have met five times in the ISL. This has always been a high-scoring encounter!

Odisha FC – 4

East Bengal – 1

Drawn – 0

Predicted Line-ups

Odisha FC (4-3-3)

Amrinder Singh (GK); Narender Gahlot, Thoiba Singh, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar; Isaac Vanmalsawma, Victor Rodriguez, Raynier Fernandes; Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Diego Mauricio, Nandhakumar Sekar

East Bengal (4-4-2)

Suvam Sen (GK); Ankit Mukherjee, Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez, Jerry Lalrinzuala; VP Suhair, Mobashir Rahman, Alex Lima, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Semboi Haokip, Cleiton Silva

Player to Watch

Diego Mauricio (Odisha FC)

Diego Mauricio against Mumbai City. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Diego Mauricio was one of the bright spots for Odisha in their first home defeat last week. He scored a brace in their humiliating 4-2 loss against Mumbai City. Both these goals were of very high quality. Overall, he is the club’s highest goal-scorer this season with five goals from 12 games. East Bengal defenders will have to be extra cautious in dealing with Mauricio as he is adept in exploiting spaces and creating problems for defences.

Cleiton Silva (East Bengal)

Cleiton Silva celebrating his second goal against Bengaluru FC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Cleiton was the best player for East Bengal in their first home win of the season last week. He too, scored a brace and helped his side win the game 2-1. His second goal came from a brilliant free kick in the dying moments of the game. Thus, it is expected that he will create problems for Odisha’s defence if not kept under strict check. Currently, he is the joint highest goal-scorer in the league with seven goals from 11 games.

Did You Know?

  • This fixture has yielded 34 goals in five meetings so far.
  • East Bengal goalie Kamaljit Singh is a former Odisha FC player.
  • East Bengal are the only side this season to not draw a game.

Telecast

The match between Odisha FC and East Bengal will take place at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on January 7th (Saturday). 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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