Both teams are coming off demoralizing defeats in their previous game.
Chennaiyin FC face Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan on Saturday night. Both teams faced defeats in their previous game. A 1-0 loss against defending champions Mumbai City snapped Chennaiyin’s unbeaten start to the season. Odisha, on the other hand, were blown away by Greg Stewart in Jamshedpur’s crushing 4-0 win.
The game pits two mid-table sides with a great opportunity to move into the playoffs spots with a win on the night. Therefore, the game holds massive significance for either side. It adds more spice to what promises to be another captivating clash.
The Marina Machans have had a sedate start to the season. Despite their loss on Wednesday, Bozidar Bandovic’s men have given a good account of themselves so far.
Defence remains Chennaiyin FC’s strength, although their attack has also shown shades of quality. But, four goals in their first five games states that a lot is left to be desired in the attack.
Nonetheless, the team seem to be playing more in the manner head coach Bandovic envisions them to, compact and organized in defence as well as being steady on the ball. The Marina Machans showed their defensive quality in keeping ATK Mohun Bagan quiet in their 1-1 draw and in their performance against Mumbai until the late mistake from Vishal Kaith lost them the game.
Kiko Ramirez’s men have surprised one and all with their performances this season. They have ridden on the brilliance of Javi Hernandez and Aridai Cabrera. But, they have also shown their quality all over the park.
Their humbling defeat against Jamshedpur would’ve surely knocked some wind out of their sails. But, Odisha FC possesses great depth and balance in terms of youth and experience. It is what makes them one of the most exciting teams to watch this season.
The attack of Cabrera, Hernandez and Co. will meet their match against the resolute Chennaiyin defence, who possess the meanest defence so far in the league. Odisha also need to be wary of the opposition’s capability on the counter-attack.
Odisha struggled against Jamshedpur FC on the wings and that remains a threat given Chennaiyin FC’s pacy wingers and wing-backs. Chennaiyin have also shown that they are a quality team on the counter-attack. Considering Odisha prefer to have a lot of possession, they have shown susceptibility to teams that counter-attack. Therefore, Kiko Ramirez’s men would need to be wary of such situations.
Rafael Crivellaro has started light work on his road to recovery. But, the creative midfielder is still some time away from returning to the squad. Otherwise, Chennaiyin FC have a fully fit squad.
Odisha FC, too, don’t have any injury concerns or suspensions to deal with.
Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC have had four meetings so far. Both teams have one win apiece along with two drawn fixtures.
Chennaiyin FC (3-5-2): Kaith (GK), Reagan, Narayan, Damjanovic, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Borysiuk, Vanspaul, Thapa (C), Chhangte, Koman, Gikiewicz
Odisha FC (4-2-3-1): Kamaljit (GK), Antonay, Rodas, Mongil, Lalruatthara, Ramfangzauva, Rai (C), Vanmalsawma, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Cabrera, Hernandez
Man to Watch
Vladimir Koman (Chennaiyin FC)
In the absence of Rafael Crivellaro, the task of managing Chennaiyin FC’s gameplay has fallen largely on the shoulders of Vladimir Koman. The Hungarian though has performed that task with aplomb so far. Koman’s work rate and match awareness are his greatest strengths. He has already scored twice in five games for Chennaiyin. He scored the winner against Hyderabad FC and then a smashing finish for the equalizer against ATK Mohun Bagan.
In five games, Koman is currently averaging 5.5 tackles and interceptions per game. He has shown his quality and experience at both ends of the pitch. He has also struck a very good partnership with Thapa and Chhangte. Therefore, it is now evident that Chennaiyin FC’s gameplay revolves around these three.
Javi Hernandez (Odisha FC)
Javi Hernandez has been Odisha FC’s go-to man in terms of goals and their overall attacking gameplay. Along with Aridai Cabrera, the Spaniard has formed the backbone of the Juggernauts’ attack. Odisha’s struggles without him were evident in the previous game against Jamshedpur FC. Kiko Ramirez’s men struggled to stitch decent chances and pose an attacking threat to the Men of Steel.
The 32-year old Spaniard has also contributed three goals and two assists in five games. This season, Hernandez has contributed a goal every 69 minutes. Therefore, his quality and class are unmistakable. He will be integral for the Juggernauts in this game.
Did You Know?
- Chennaiyin FC’s Lallianzuala Chhangte (20) is one goal away from getting into the top ten highest scorers in ISL’s history. He will become only the second Chennaiyin FC player after Jeje Lalpekhlua to do so.
- Chennaiyin FC’s Narayan Das (112) is the second-highest capped player in ISL history and faces his former team tomorrow
- This season, Odisha FC have already scored 11 games in only their first five games. Last season, they scored only 12 goals across the entire season.
The match between Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC will be held at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa on Saturday, December 18. The kick-off is set for 7:30 pm IST. The match will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network and is available for streaming LIVE on the Disney+Hotstar platform and the Jio TV app.