ISL 2020-21: Battered Odisha FC takes on NorthEast United FC

ISL 2020: Odisha is at the bottom of the table with just a solitary point and having scored just three goals – the joint lowest in the division – while NEUFC is still in the top four despite being winless in its last three matches.

NEUFC has been in fine form in the ISL 2020-21 season.   -  sportzpics

A battered Odisha FC will take on a NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) side that is aiming to bounce back from its first loss of the Indian Super League season (ISL 2020-21) at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday.

Odisha is at the bottom of the table with just a solitary point and having scored just three goals – the joint lowest in the division – while NEUFC is still in the top four despite being winless in its last three matches.

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Odisha has conceded three penalties that were converted, and has conceded goals either side of the water breaks and even in the final minute of stoppage time. Head coach Stuart Baxter described his team as being “architects of its downfall.” In the pre-match press conference, he added, “At the end of the day, I think it’s a lack of focus that results in the performance going down. So, as long as we can keep our focus at the right level, we can keep on improving.”

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Former ISL MVP Marcelinho’s lack of impact at Odisha has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks. “It’s not as easy to say one of the foreigners is not doing this or that or the Indian boys are not supporting the foreigners. It’s not one thing. It’s a lot of things. But the direct question about Marcelinho is that obviously he was injured. His performances in training have not yet led to say that he is fully recovered,” explained Baxter.

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It will be an interesting match-up between two teams, which like to hold their shape in defence and hit on the break. Only when they have fallen behind have they looked to take the initiative in attack. In seven matches, NEUFC had averaged 294 passes (10th in the league), and Odisha 326 (ninth) from six outings.

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After the defeat to Jamshedpur FC on Friday, NEUFC head coach Gerard Nus rallied his squad on the pitch and reiterated the need to show the group’s strength in the face of adversity.

“We will stick to the positives we have done so far since day one. We are not a defensive team like I have heard [about us]. We are a team who knows how to attack, has different ways to punish the teams. At the same time, we know how to defend. We need to stick to these things and create chances,” said the Spaniard.

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Match details

Time: 7.30 pm IST

Venue: GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim

Squads

Odisha FC: Kamaljit Singh, Ravi Kumar, Arshdeep Singh, Ankit Bhuyan, Steven Taylor, Jacob Tratt, Shubham Sarangi, Gaurav Bora, Hendry Antonay, Kamalpreet Singh, George D'Souza, Mohammad Dhot, Saurabh Meher, Cole Alexander, Nandhakumar Sekar, Paul Ramfangzauva, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Vinit Rai, Thoiba Singh, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Jerry Mawihmingthana, Boaringdao Bodo, Lahrezuala Sailung, Marcelo Pereira, Manuel Onwu, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Diego Mauricio, Laishram Singh

NorthEast United: Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy, Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Wayne Vaz, Rakesh Pradhan, Federico Gallego, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Imran Khan, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela, Idrissa Sylla, Luis Machado, Kwesi Appiah, Britto PM, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Lalkhawpuimawia, Suhair Vadakkepeedika.

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