Nothing short of a win would be what the doctor ordered for both Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC when the two sides lock horns in the Indian Super League at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Monday.
Bengaluru are sixth in the points table with 23 points from 17 games, four adrift of fourth-placed Kerala Blasters. Odisha are a spot below them at seventh position having 22 points from 17 encounters.
The Blues saw their nine-game unbeaten streak coming to a halt against leaders Hyderabad and then suffered another defeat to lowly NorthEast United FC, derailing their fresh hopes of a semifinal berth to a certain extent.
“We need to focus only on this game. There are three points to win, and we need to improve. We played well for 20 minutes against NorthEast United, then we gave up. It was the same in the second half and that’s why we conceded two goals,” Bengaluru head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said at the pre-match press conference.
“Odisha is a very good team on the counter-press and if you give them space like we saw in the first game that we lost, they can score goals,” he said of the opponents.
Bengaluru rely on set pieces more for their goals while Odisha are one of the highest scorers from open play in ISL 21-22.
Bengaluru are the joint top scorers from set-pieces in ISL 21-22 scoring 17 from dead ball situations this season, sharing the record with Jamshedpur FC.
Cleiton Silva has scored in two of his last three league games. Only Greg Stewart (7) has scored more goals from set-pieces this season than Cleiton Silva (6).
“It’s normal in football that you need other teams to give you results. But we can only control ourselves, but if I am going to think about opponents to help us, that won’t help. I need to focus on my team and our own results,” Pezzaiuoli further said.
When it comes to open play, Odisha have scored 21 goals from open play, more than half of the goals. The Blues will also bank on in-form forward Cleiton Silva to help the team with the goals, as will Odisha who will depend heavily on Jonathas Cristian to deliver the goods upfront.
The two Brazilians are the leading scorers for their respective teams and find themselves among the top scorers this season.
Jonathas has scored in each of his last 5 league games. After his goal against Chennaiyin FC in Odisha FC’s last league game, he became the first Odisha FC player to score in 5 straight league games.
Odisha too have to win their remaining games in order to keep their semifinal hopes alive and Kino Garcia said the team will fight till the last minute of this campaign.
“We know that this is going to be difficult. We still have a chance and everybody want to compete until the end. Against Bengaluru, we know that both teams need a victory to arrive in the last two matches will little hope. So we are motivated and the mood in the camp is okay. We need to learn from our mistakes and keep going,” he said.
The last time the two teams met in their first game of the season, Odisha ran out 3-1 winners but Garcia refused to read too much into that.
“That is too long ago. We can’t think about that now, that was the start of the season. Bengaluru are a good team and had a run of unbeaten games before losing to NorthEast United. So we know it will be a difficult game for us. We have an advantage in physical condition (of the players) as we could rest two days more. But it will be difficult for both teams.”
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will miss this game and could potentially be out for the season due to a fever (not Covid-19) while Suresh Wangjam is confirmed out for the season. Alongside, Ashique Kuruniyan and Rohit Kumar are also not available for this game. Subsequently, Ajith Kumar is recovering from post-covid weakness and is still weak to contest games.
No new injuries for Odisha. Hector Rodas is back to full fitness while there’s a high chance that Liridon Krasniqi starts this game.
Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC faced each other nine teams. The Blues came out victorious on five occasions while the Juggernauts managed to get three wins. Both the teams shared a point once. In the latest encounter during the first half of the season Odisha FC won with a comfortable 3-1 scoreline.
Bengaluru FC: Lara Sharma (GK), Namgyal Bhutia, Alan Costa, Yaya Banana, Naorem Roshan Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Bruno Ramires, Danish Farooq, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Cleiton Silva.
Odisha FC: Arshdeep Singh (GK), Gaurav Bora, Hector Rodas, Hendry Antonay, Sahil Panwar, Paul Ramfangzauva, Javi Hernandez, Liridon Krasniqi, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Jonathas de Jesus, Nandhakumar Sekar.
Did You Know?
- Bengaluru FC’s Roshan Singh who returns from suspension tomorrow has the highest number of yellow cards this season (7).
- Odisha FC have conceded the highest number of penalties this game (4) and BFC have been awarded the most so far (5).
- With 8 goals each BFC’s Cleiton Silva and OFC’s Jonathas de Jesus are joint fourth-highest scorers in the league currently.
The match between Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC will be played at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. The kick-off time is at 07:30 pm IST on Monday. Star Sports will telecast the match, while Disney+ Hotstar and JIO TV will be live streaming it online.
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