When Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters last met in the ISL in late October, the Kochi team was on a losing streak. The Blasters had lost three matches in a row during that phase including the one against Odisha.
The Blasters are now going through a happy phase, having won five of their last six matches and drawing the other, the last encounter against Chennaiyin FC last week. The Blasters meet Odisha again at the Nehru Stadium here on Monday and the encounter promises to be interesting.
“I think this is one of the most important matches of the season because both of us have the same number of points (19). We have been playing good football lately, and so have they,” said Ishfaq Ahmed, the Blasters’ assistant coach.
“We respect them and their coach, but it’s a match on home soil for us. The support of fans and the home ground advantage tips the scales in our favour.”
Like Blasters, Odisha had drawn its last match (goalless against ATK Mohun Bagan) and before that it had suffered a 0-3 loss against FC Goa a couple of weeks ago.
“It is a very good game to play against a very good side in Kerala (Blasters),” said Odisha head coach Josep Gombau. “Every single player and coach wants to be involved in a game like this. Also, it is on the day after Christmas and I think getting a good result will be the best present for all our fans and families,” he said.