Jamshedpur FC, which has already qualified for the semifinals of the Indian Super League (ISL 2021-22), will have just one target against Odisha FC - to extend its lead at the top of the table to win the League Winners Shield.
Owen Coyle's men took a massive leap in the race for the Shield after clinching a 3-0 victory against a formidable Hyderabad FC side. With talisman Greg Stewart back after serving his one-match suspension, the Men of Steel will be favourites to win against the Kalinga Warriors and reach 40 points from 19 matches.
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On paper, Coyle's Jamshedpur FC should notch an easy victory. However, the veteran manager will be aware of Odisha FC's ability to hurt his team despite being out of the semis race.
"I think the Odisha FC game is a challenging one. We also need to win the game because of our agenda of finishing at the top, which will be a remarkable achievement. Odisha FC has some lovely attack-minded players, and we have to remain focused," Coyle told the media ahead of the game.
Kino Garcia's Odisha FC will play for pride in its last game against Jamshedpur. A win won't change Odisha's league position, but it will look to end its season on a high and put a roadblock on Jamshedpur's aim to finish the season on top.
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Teams like Hyderabad FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, also in the hunt for the League Winner's Shield, would be rooting for Odisha FC to strengthen their chances of finishing top. Garcia said despite being aware of the implications of his team beating Jamshedpur, he only cares about his team finishing the season on a high.
"I want Odisha to have three points. I don't care if other teams want us to beat Jamshedpur. I think the fans deserve to see the team performing well. I know Jamshedpur is looking to finish at the top, and they will come at us with everything. It will be a tough match for us but won't be easy for them as well," Garcia said in the pre-match press conference.