ISL 2020-21 Preview: Odisha FC out to play spoilsport against Mumbai City

ISL 2020-21 Preview: Mumbai City needs to beat bottom-placed Odisha FC in order to remain in contention for the League Winners Sheild.

Diego Mauricio

Bottom-placed Odisha FC has endured a dismal campaign, managing only one win and nine points from 18 games.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

For Odisha FC, there is literally nothing at stake in its Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) match on Wednesday against second-placed Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.

Claimant for the wooden spoon with just nine points, Odisha can still play spoilsport. Mumbai City, which is still in contention for the ISL League winner Shield, can't afford to take the contest lightly.

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If the Islanders can get past Odisha, then they will take on ATK Mohun Bagan on February 28 for the battle as to who will top the ISL points table and claim the coveted AFC Champions League berth.

Mumbai, now having lost both of its last two games, has a few issues to fix. Being the best team for the major part of the league, Mumbai City has now just won one in its last six games.

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Sergio Lobera, head coach of Mumbai City, knows the importance of the match. “We need to improve our performance because we want to win this game. Playing like we did in the last game [against Jamshedpur losing 2-0], it is impossible to win the game. The focus is on ourselves and we need to improve at both ends,” he said.

Talking of the match against Jamshedpur, Lobera said: “We played the worst game of our season and hopefully this is in the past now. The most important thing is our present and our future. It was a bad day in the office and sometimes this happens. The important thing is to not repeat this.”

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Meanwhile, Steven Dias, who took charge of Odisha after interim manager Gerald Peyton left the club for personal reasons after the match against FC Goa, backed his young players. “We have really good young players. I still think that we have a very balanced team. But, we have been so unfortunate. Starting off the season, Thoiba (Singh) and Saurabh (Meher) played in the central midfield but after one or two games even coach Stuart (Baxter) didn’t get much chance to put Indian players,” he said.

“But, they are very talented, I have seen them in the training sessions. In the future, they are going to be very good players but we didn’t get much chance to play some of the young players. I am trying my best to give a few young players a chance if they can. I personally feel, in one match, you can change your career. I always tell the young players – prepare yourself and when you get the chance, prove yourself,” he added.

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