Both teams have been inconsistent in this season’s ISL and would look to turn a corner come matchday
Hyderabad FC travel to their erstwhile home of FC Pune City, to take on current tenants Odisha FC in a potential six-pointer for either team.
The two newest franchises haven’t had the most productive starts in their new avatars. Odisha have shown sparkling signs but have remained largely inconsistent in this season with only one win so far from their seven games.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, have had a tournament to forget so far with nothing going right for Phil Brown and his men. Just four points from seven games and five losses don’t make for good viewing. With major injuries continuing to cripple the squad backed by poor performances, the Nizams haven’t clicked into unison. There, unfortunately, seems to be no light for them at the end of the tunnel.
Odisha have had players like Aridane and Jerry Mawihmingthanga who have shone for them but their inability to close out games has seen them drop points this season. However, they are an improving lot under Josep Gombau. The same can’t be said though of Hyderabad and their gameplay at the moment.
Odisha have had a scrappy start to the ISL season so far with results going awry. Their last win came almost 40 days back when they won away at Mumbai. Since then they have endured a barren run with only two goals in the next four games.
Although within grasp, the gap between the teams in the playoff spots and the following six teams is starting to widen at the moment and it is crucial that Odisha put together a good, long run of results to stay in contention for the semis.
A win against Hyderabad tomorrow will keep them just a point behind fifth-placed NorthEast United and three off Jamshedpur. Odisha have got a young side capable of producing results with promising players and they have been playing some good football, but the final bit is what eludes them at the moment.
For Hyderabad, it’s more about relevance at the moment than qualifying. They haven’t got results, motivation is at an all-time low, the squad looks injury-prone. Now the team is praying for Stankovic to be available for the next game as he walked off in the last game clutching his hamstring against Goa.
They came into the tournament with a lot of promise with players like Marcelinho and Robin Singh proving to be the able leaders of a young-talented squad. But the goals haven’t come and so have the results.
All hope is not lost for Phil Brown and his men, but they have a mountain to climb if they are to strike the playoff gong and that steep ascend begins with their trip to Pune to face Odisha FC. Being the former home team, they would know the ground inside out and that could work to the advantage of the Hyderabadis, but could it also prove to be a welcome turnaround for Phil Brown and his charge remains to be seen.
Odisha don’t seem to have any problems with personnel both physically and mentally. They have a bunch of talented, young players led by Josep Gombau and have performed well but haven’t found that level of performance that people would’ve expected of them. Gombau though will be happy that he has no injury headaches and has a fully-fit squad to face Hyderabad tomorrow and could play the same lineup that competed against Bengaluru.
Phil Brown couldn’t have got his best players back at a more crucial time. But there is still uncertainty over the severity of Stankovic’s early hamstring pull against Goa last time out and whether they would risk playing him on Wednesday or rest for further matches. Otherwise, the Englishman has the services of all players in his squad.
The two teams will confront each other in their new colours for the first time. But in their previous forms, it was Odisha (previously, Delhi Dynamos FC) who hold the bragging rights having won five out of the ten meetings played between the two previous franchises. Pune have won only once against their opponents in the ISL with four draws.
Odisha FC: Arshdeep (GK), Sarangi, Diagne, Delgado, Narayan Das, Tebar (C), Vinit Rai, Mawihmingthanga, Xisco, Nandha Kumar, Aridane Santana.
Hyderabad FC: Kamaljit (GK), Asish Rai, Adil Khan, Kilgallon, Poojary, Rafa Lopez, Danmawia, Yasir, Bobo, Marcelinho, Robin
Men to Watch
Aridane Santana (Odisha FC)
The 32-year old striker has been a pivotal player for Gombau’s men and has scored four out of the team’s eight goals so far this season. That includes the fabulous stop-and-turn goal, he scored, to rescue a draw for his team against Chennaiyin FC at the end of last month. He will be expected to add to his tally tomorrow and lead his side past a dispirited Hyderabad defence who have let in 14 goals in their seven games so far.
Marcelinho (Hyderabad FC)
The Hyderabad midfielder has cut a frustrated figure this season with his side rock-bottom of the ISL. But on his day he can be as good as anyone on the pitch. If afforded space and confidence, he can be devastating with his dribbling and accurate passing. He still remains the primal source of brilliance for Hyderabad and all hopes will be pinned on him to make a statement against Odisha tomorrow.
Did You Know?
- In their previous ten meetings, Odisha (erstwhile Delhi Dynamos) have won five out of the ten meetings with Hyderabad (previously Pune) having won only once.
- This is the first meeting between the two teams in their new avatars.
- Hyderabad FC travel to face home team Odisha FC at Pune which was the home of the Hyderabad’s previous version, FC Pune City.
The game will take place at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune on Wednesday. It will also be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and Stars Sports 2 HD from 7:30 PM IST. The live stream will be on Hotstar and Jio TV.