ISL 2019-20: Odisha FC hosts Khalid Jamil's NorthEast United in must-win clash

Odisha FC will need a win to keep its playoffs hopes alive when it hosts NorthEast United in the Indian Super League (ISL 2019-20) on Friday.

Josep Gombau

Josep Gombau's Delhi Dynamos will have to beat NorthEast United FC on Friday to remain in contention for a Indian Super League (ISL 2019-20) top-four spot.   -  ISL MEDIA

Odisha FC will look for an outright win when it plays host to NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League here at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday.

The home side is currently sixth on the table and five points behind fourth-placed Mumbai City FC. If Odisha fails to beat NorthEast United, it will mathematically be out of contention for a top-four slot.

Josep Gombau's men come into the game on the back of three successive losses, with the most recent being a 3-1 defeat to ATK. The side now has two matches left to turnaround its campaign.

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“These are two important games. We have approached this season game by game. If mathematics says it is possible we are going to fight for it. We need to concentrate. We have been training very well. It is a must-win game. If we win tomorrow, we will approach the next game with the same attitude. We have prepared for the match as a final,” said Gombau.

Odisha will need the likes of Xisco Hernandez and Manuel Onwu to fire upfront. Onwu has been among the goals since he moved to Odisha and will look to continue his form against NorthEast as well. However, the side will need to shore up its defence, which has leaked in 10 goals in the last three matches.

NorthEast United, on the other hand, is winless in 11 matches and recently parted ways with head coach Robert Jarni after the 3-3 draw with Jamshedpur FC on Monday.

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Interim coach Khalid Jamil will face his first test and is keen on continuing Jarni's philosophy. “We have to give our best with everything that we have. We will continue in the way, Mr. Jarni was following. There will be minor changes, that's it,” said Jamil.

The visiting side has a few injury issues with the likes of Nikhil Kadam and Mislav Komorski ruled out while midfielder Lalengmawia is out because of personal reasons.

Though Irish marksman Andy Keogh is yet to find the back of the net, the likes of Federico Gallego and Redeem Tlang impressed against Jamshedpur and Jamil will hope they can maintain their form as the side bids to finish the season on a positive note.

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