Both clubs with new leadership will try to open their account with a victory.
The upcoming fixture between Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC in the seventh edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) is going to be an interesting watch. Both clubs were in similar waters last season, as they made their respective debuts in the top flight.
Now, in their second season, both clubs find themselves in similar situations again, with new leadership at the helm and an ambition to perform better than their previous campaign. The first fixture, therefore, becomes an all-important battle between them.
Odisha FC had a shaky start to their debut campaign and it was too late by the time the club found any sort of rhythm or consistency. Finishing sixth in the standings seemed like a bag of mixed feelings. While under Josep Gombau, the team showcased beautiful possession-based football, a leaky defence and off-field distractions cost them dearly.
With new boss Stuart Baxter at the helm this time around and a new-look squad to boot, the ambitions are clear. The focus is to ensure playoffs qualification at the minimum and kick-off the campaign on a positive note.
It wasn’t the perfect start to life in the ISL for Hyderabad FC. The club finished bootom in the standings, managing only two wins all season. Ahead of the new campaign, they have also made a whole host of changes to undo the shortcomings of the past season. Another Spanish coach in Manolo Marquez will shoulder the responsibility of lifting the club from last season’s debacle. The minimum requirement for the club would be to improve on their previous campaign, because the only direction they can go is upwards after hitting rock-bottom.
Both coaches will have relatively full-strength squads to choose from and fans from both camps will be eager to see how they field their respective teams. Marcelinho will be up against his former team after securing his move to Odisha FC. Similarly, eyes will be on Aridane Santana, who has been signed by Hyderabad and will be up against his former employers too.
Dimple Bhagat and Fran Sandaza have been confirmed injured by Marquez ahead of the fixture while Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Jacob Tratt will be the absentees for Odisha FC.
After making their debuts in the ISL last season, the two encounters between Odisha and Hyderabad resulted in a 3-2 and 2-1 victory for the Juggernauts respectively, leaving the Nizams licking their wounds in two tight contests.
Man to Watch
Marcelinho (Odisha FC)
The obvious source of danger from Odisha will be their star signing Marcelinho. The Brazilian is an icon and an ISL veteran who has performed well on a consistent basis.
Having scored 31 goals and provided 18 assists in 63 appearances, he has the tenacity to turn the game on its head single-handedly. His attacking influence will be central to the Juggernauts’ ambitions and stopping him will be tough for any opposition.
Aridane Santana (Hyderabad FC)
The Spaniard will be the focal point in attack for Hyderabad FC against Odisha FC. His past form speaks volumes of the kind of effect he can have for his new employers.
Aridane played 14 games for Odisha last season in which he scored nine goals and registered two assists. His battle with Steven Taylor will be one to look out for.
Odisha FC (4-2-3-1)
Arshdeep Singh (GK); Sarangi, Gaurav Bora, Taylor, D’Souza; Alexander, V. Rai, Lalmuanpuia, Nandhakumar; Marcelinho, Onwu.
Hyderabad FC (4-2-3-1)
Paul (GK); Rai, Onaindia, A.Khan, Panwar; Sastre, Joao Victor, Colaco, Chianese, Yasir; Santana.
Did You Know?
- Odisha FC won both the encounters against Hyderabad FC last season. A 3-2 and 2-1 victory.
- Hyderabad FC managed only two wins, collecting just 10 points last year and conceded 39 goals in the process, the most by any side.
- Marcelinho (for Odisha) and Santana (for Hyderabad) will both be facing their former teams when the two sides clash on Monday.
The match between Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC is set to be telecast live on the Star Sports Network and it will also be streamed on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Jio TV at 7:30 PM on Monday.