ISL 2020-21 Preview: Odisha, Hyderabad look to make flying start

Odisha FC is set to take on Hyderabad FC in match four of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season at the GMC Stadium in Goa on Monday.

SPORTZPICS/ISL

Manuel Onwu, who joined Odisha FC on a permanent transfer, was a revelation for the team during his loan spell from Bengaluru FC last season (File Photo).

Odisha FC will aim to hit the ground running when it locks horns with Hyderabad FC in its Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) season-opener on Monday.

Led by veteran coach Stuart Baxter, Odisha boasts the youngest team in ISL 2020-21 with an average age of 22. The Kalinga Warriors have undergone a massive overhaul in the summer, bringing in big names such as Newcastle legend Steven Taylor, and possess a terrific attacking line up that features the likes of Marcelinho, Diego Mauricio and Manuel Onwu.

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Hyderabad FC, on other hand, will hope to exorcise its demons from its last campaign. The side endured a disastrous debut season, managing only two wins and finished at the bottom of the table with 10 points. The side was dealt with a massive blow prior to this season as manager Albert Roca parted ways with the club to join Ronald Koeman at FC Barcelona. Hyderabad FC has then roped in fellow Spaniard Manolo Marquez, who now has the toilsome task of rebuilding the side.

Odisha FC has an unbeaten two-nil record against Hyderabad FC, but coach Baxter says none of that matters. “History doesn't really help anybody. The Titanic (ship) sank and Liverpool won the Premier League last season but none of it helps this year. They have got new players and we have got new players, so things have changed on both sides,” he said at the pre-match conference.

Odei Onaindia

Spanish centre-back Odei Onaindia is among Hyderabad FC's top foreign signings this season.   -  Twitter @HyderabadFCOfficial

 

The 67-year-old added, "We are hoping to build on what was done last year. I would like us to be efficient as well as attractive. That's not an easy thing to do. So that will be our challenge and we will try and do our best."

The Englishman also confirmed that Australian defender Jacob Tratt and Jerry Mawihmingthanga will not be available for Monday’s clash.

Hyderabad FC’s dismal last campaign saw the side slip to four losses in its opening five games. Marquez is keen to guide his team to a winning start this time around. “Winning the first game is important. Although given a choice, I would take a loss in the first game if it meant winning the remaining 19," he said. Hyderabad will miss the services of Spanish striker Francisco Sandaza.

Odisha FC lost both its pre-season matches (against Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC, while Hyderabad FC won one (against FC Goa) in its four games.

Match facts

Time: 7.30 pm IST

Venue: GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim

- THE 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.

Hyderabad FC: Subrata Paul, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey, Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Chinglensana Singh, Odei Onaindia, Dimple Bhagat, Nikhil Prabhu, Sahil Panwar, Akash Mishra, Kynsailang Khongsit, Asish Rai, Adil Khan, Halicharan Narzary, Joao Victor, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Hitesh Sharma, Abhishek Halder, Sahil Tavora, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohamed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Souvik Chakrabarti, Sweden Fernandes, Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Joel Chianese, Liston Colaco, Ishan Dey, Lalawmpuia, Rohit Danu.

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