ISL 2021: Bengaluru aims to build on start against Odisha

Pezzaiuoli’s side, which won 4-2 against NorthEast United FC in its season-opener, will take on Odisha, which is looking to banish memories from 2020-21 when the outfit finished rock bottom.

Bengaluru players celebrate Cleiton Silva's goal in the win over NorthEast United FC.   -  /Focus Sports/ ISL

Bengaluru FC will look to build on a positive start to its Indian Super League campaign when it takes on Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Wednesday.

Marco Pezzaiuoli’s side won 4-2 against NorthEast United FC in its season-opener, which was marked by a controlled second-half performance after a wayward first period, made tough by an unrelenting downpour.

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A fairly successful outing for winger Udanta Singh and debut goals for Jayesh Rane and Prince Ibara would have warmed the club faithful’s hearts. Cleiton Silva, continued from where he left off last season, scoring his team’s opener in clinical fashion.

But BFC’s defence was shaky, with the new centre-back pairing of Alan Costa and Yrondu Musavu-King finding the going tough. Promising winger Leon Augustine looks set for a spell on the sidelines because of an ankle injury he sustained in the game.

Up top, skipper Sunil Chhetri didn’t see much of the ball and was often isolated. BFC’s plan should be to involve him more.

“Sometimes Sunil came inside too early. He didn’t get that many balls from the central midfield. We need to improve there,” Pezzaiuoli said on match-eve.

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“And also, to get him in a better position, especially on the right side, to score more goals in the box and be more like a second striker. That’s the quality he showed a few weeks ago with the Indian National team,” the coach added.

Odisha, on the other hand, will be playing its first game of the season, with new head coach Kiko Ramirez aiming to banish memories from 2020-21 when the outfit finished rock bottom.

It has a lop-sided head-to-head record against BFC to contend with, having lost five and drawn one from eight ISL encounters. It also has a brand-new roster of foreign players, but Ramirez felt that the lengthy pre-season his side had will help forge unity.

“Being together for the long pre-season was extremely important for nurturing the bond between the foreign players, the Indian players, and the staff. Within the time that we spent together, we are in a good place being together. We know it’s going to be a tough one, but we are ready,” the Spaniard said.

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