Odisha and Hyderabad start their Indian Football League 2020-21 campaign at GMC Stadium in Monday encounter. Hyderabad finished at the bottom in the previous edition, while Odisha did slightly better, missing the qualification by four points.
Match Timings: Nov 23, 7:30 PM
Season 2016’s semifinalists Odisha had a dull campaign last season despite having a better run than Kerala. Odisha won 7 matches out of 18 and drawn four in 2019-20. This year, the club has also parted ways with Josep Gombau. Stuart Baxter is Odisha’s new head coach, and they also signed former Newcastle player Steven Taylor. Marcelinho will take the forward position in Odisha FC, and the young Indian talents can give Odisha playoff vibes this season.
They would retain last season’s mid-season transfer Onwu, who scored seven goals last season. Manuel Onwu, Diego Mauricio, and Marcelinho will have a huge responsibility in the attack. Cole Alexander is a new inclusion and has played under Baxter in South Africa.
Odisha FC retained their Indian core from last season with Jerry, Vinit, Nandhakumar, Sarangi, and goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh. Baxter needs to improve the defense part. The goalkeeper Arshdeep kept only one clean sheet from nine matches last season, and Odisha conceded more than 30 goals in the league stage. They have signed a new goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh from Hyderabad, but his performance was not up to the mark. Baxter is known for the defensive approach, so it would be interesting to know how Indian players adopt his approach.
In pre-season friendlies, they suffered a 3-2 defeat against Mumbai Mumbai City. Marcelinho and Nandhakumar Sekar scored the goals for Odisha. In the next outing, they lost to Chennai 2-1 with the only goal from Marcelinho.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad needs to focus more on rebuilding with Manuel Marquez, who replaced Albert Roca as their new head coach. In 2019-20, Roca’s side finished last with 10 points from 18 matches, winning just two. Hyderabad has signed young Indian talents such as goalkeeper Manas Dubey, Ishan Dey, Akash Mishra, Rohit Danu, and Lalbiakhlua Jongte.
They would rely more on their center-back Odei Onaindia. Midfielder Jose Victor is also a great inclusion. They also got Aridane Santana, who netted nine goals for Odisha last season. In attack, Joel Chianese and Fran Sandaza can give their experience in the side. Chianese was impressive in A-League for Perth, and his performance would play a key role. The Black outfit had enough preparation through pre-season friendlies. They appeared in four matches and added two positive results. They defeated last season’s shield winner Goa 4-2, courtesy of Haldar’s brace. They also held strong Bangalore for a 1-1 draw, and the new signing Santana scored the only goal for them. Their two defeats came against Kerala and North East.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Arshdeep Singh, Shubham Sarangi, Steven Taylor, Jacob Tratt, George D’Souza, Nandakumar, Cole Alexander, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Marcelinho, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Manuel Onwu
Subrata Paul, Souvik Chakrabarty, Odei Onaindia, Chinglensana Singh, Sahil Panwar, Joao Victor, Adil Khan, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Joel Chianese, Aridane Santana
7 goals and 2 assists in Indian Football League 2019-20
7 goals in Indian Football League 2019-20
2 goals in pre-season friendlies
9 goals in Indian Football League 2019-20
2 goals in pre-season friendlies
4 goals in A-League 2019-20