The Blues take on Kiko Ramirez’s revamped Odisha FC in their second game of the 2021-22 ISL season.

Bengaluru FC will lock horns with Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on November 24 (Wednesday). This will be their first away fixture — after a strong start against NorthEast United. Goals from Cleiton Silva, Jayesh Rane and debutant Prince Ibara, along with an own-goal was enough to seal the win. However, they did have some areas of concern that head coach Marco Pezzaiuoli had already addressed in the post-game interview. Nonetheless, they looked much stronger and different from last season and will be hoping for similar results in the future.

Ahead of this fixture, the 53-year-old spoke at the pre-match press conference.

“We had a strong mentality in our previous game, to keep pushing even when you concede goals. It shows how much we want to win and that was good to see against NorthEast United, but there’s a lot more to improve on,” he started — referring to some of his observations from the previous game.

On Udanta Singh’s performance

Further, Marco Pezzaiuoli also spoke about ace right winger Udanta Singh’s performance against the Highlanders. Despite talk around the 25-year-old’s form of late, he was the side’s key to their first goal — assisting Cleiton Silva in the 14th minute.

“Udanta had a very good game, after a not very easy preparation. He had an illness after the quarantine, which meant he was out for more than two weeks. I think he did very well, including for the pass to Cleiton. But, he has a lot more to grow and we’re working on it,” Pezzaiuoli stated; referring to his resilient demeanour.

On Prince Ibara & available attacking options

Prince Ibara made his ISL debut against NorthEast and had an instant impact after being subbed in. He replaced Leon Augustine in the 70th minute and scored off an assist from Alan Costa — in the 82nd minute. In two other instances as well, it looked like he’d have scored. However, none counted; with one also being called offside. This prompted discussion on his brilliant striking capabilities, on social media.

Responding to a question on his thoughts on the Congolese striker, the tactician expressed, “There were a couple of close calls with Prince, both of which were not offside and then he finally managed to score from a good run. I’m very happy he did well. We got him because he has quality, but he was also ill, spent a long time out without games.”

He added, “We have a lot of options in attack and that’s good for the team. We’re looking forward to seeing them work together,” he said referring to the striking options and combinations at this disposal.

Team News

Next up, the German tactician shared some updates on Leon Augustine, who was substituted minutes after being brought on — due to an injury.

“Leon will not be available tomorrow because of his ankle. We had an MRI, but we’re still waiting on the results. What we know is that he hasn’t broken a bone. There could be ligament damage, but we’ll wait to assess it,” Marco Pezzaiuoli stated.

Thoughts on facing Odisha FC

Finally, Marco Pezzaiuoli shared his thoughts on facing Odisha FC, a side that’s had some major restructuring — in terms of players (11 new signings including six foreigners) and a new head coach in Kiko Ramirez. “It’s difficult to expect something when you haven’t seen the opposition team play. We need to focus on our game. We need to take the good things from the previous game, try to improve ourselves and do better. They have a new coach, with new players,” he noted.

Adding on, he said, “They don’t know where they stand, which might be a bit of an advantage for us, as we have already played a game against NorthEast United. We have three points on the board and we need to try and build on that;” he said, thereby concluding the press conference.

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