FATORDA: FC Goa take on Odisha FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday. Six points separate the two sides as the Juggernauts are in fourth place, knowing that a win takes them level on points with leaders Mumbai City FC. The Gaurs are currently occupying the final playoff spot, and a win will bring them level on points with Kerala Blasters FC in fifth. The historic advantage lies with FC Goa, as they have never lost a Hero ISL game against Odisha FC.
The hosts will be looking to avoid a third successive defeat. The last time they went without a point for three consecutive games was at the end of last season in the final four games. In their last two games, FC Goa have conceded six goals and managed to score just one. (Club statistics)
Head coach Carlos Pena will be without key midfielder Edu Bedia who was sent off last week in Mumbai. This could allow Pena to bring Princeton Rebello in midfield and deploy Noah Wail Sadaoui, the club’s leading goal-scorer, down the flank to provide width with Alvaro Vazquez up front.
“Of course, we are not happy with the last two games. But we don’t have to think about the past, we need to focus on the next one,” said Pena.
“This moment is not easy for us, but I have faith in my team and staff, and I’m sure we can display a good performance on Saturday,” he added.
Odisha FC’s performances on the pitch recently have been stellar. They registered their third win on the bounce last week against NorthEast United FC and will be eying the fourth one against FC Goa to leapfrog ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad FC and move into second place.
Nandhakumar Sekar has scored four goals in eight games so far. The winger has found the back of the net in the last three matches. Striker Diego Mauricio fired another blank but provided an assist that allowed Sekar to bag his fourth goal of the campaign. The next goal Odisha FC score will be their 100th in the Hero ISL. Head coach Josep Gombau is likely to field the same starting eleven against FC Goa. (Club statistics)
“We are happy to be here. Tomorrow will be a very nice game between two teams that like to play with a similar style,” said Gombau.
“We have had a lot of time to prepare for this one. The players have done really well, and we will try to get a good result tomorrow,” he added.
The two sides have met six times in the Hero ISL. The Gaurs have won on four occasions, and two matches have ended in draws. (Hero ISL standings)