ISL 2019-20: Struggling Odisha, Hyderabad look for full points

Odisha FC has six points from seven games and is placed seventh in the ISL table, while Hyderabad FC is rock-bottom with just four points.

Aridane Santana will be hoping to add to his four goals against Hyderabad FC.   -  ISL

Backbenchers Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC will square off with an eye to log home full points during their Indian Super League encounter on Wednesday.

The teams have not hit the ground running and find themselves in the wrong half of the table. While Odisha has six points from seven games and is placed seventh, Hyderabad is rock-bottom with just four points.

The teams have struggled in front of goal as they have only two goals to show from their last four outings.

In its last four matches, Odisha FC has only managed to garner a single point which was away to Chennaiyin FC. Coach Josep Gombau has time and again spoken of his preference to play an expansive brand of football and not giving importance to yielding results through a pragmatic approach.

“Tomorrow is a crucial match. It is a massive game for us. It’s all or nothing. We are with a chance to get to nine points and we are close to fighting for the play-offs as well. It is important to take this mentality and not add pressure on yourselves,” said Gombau.

The Spanish coach would take heart from its performance against Bengaluru FC last week where it created numerous chances to not just equalise but pick three points. However, as has been its story, it has been wasteful in front of goal.

The likes of Xisco Hernandez and Jerry Mawihmingthanga have created chances galore but the conversion rate has not been great.

Set-pieces have been an issue for the home side as four out of the nine goals it has conceded has come through free-kicks or corner-kicks.

Hyderabad FC coach Phil Brown has his hands full as he needs to get his team up and running following its 1-0 defeat to FC Goa. What would make matters worse is that Marcelinho, its star performer, is suspended for the tie after having accumulated four yellow cards.

Its away form is nothing to be proud of. Of the 14 goals against it, 10 have come on the road. But Brown projects a confident picture ahead of the Odisha game, emphasising that his team is about to turn a corner.

“We respect Odisha, their coach and players, but we are just round the corner from a good run. As a coach, it’s my responsibility to make sure that players don’t get frustrated with results because of the way we play but I don’t think they are [frustrated].

“Odisha enjoy keeping possession in their games but possession doesn’t necessarily win you games, taking the opportunities certainly does and that’s what we will be trying to do tomorrow (Wednesday) night,” said Brown.

The good news for Brown is that centre-back Gurtej Singh and left-back Sahil Panwar are back in contention for a start. But influential midfielder Marko Stankovic will miss the game after suffering a hamstring tear in Hyderabad’s previous game against FC Goa.

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