Odisha FC are currently placed at the 7th position on the league table having collected 22 points (6 wins and 3 draws) from 17 games. Interim head coach Kino Garcia stressed on the importance of making use of Bengaluru FC’s drawbacks when the two sides face each other tonight. The Juggernauts played out a 2-2 draw with Chennaiyin FC in their last game. The Kalinga Warriors are keen to draw motivation from the prospect of defeating Bengaluru FC for a second time this season.
Meanwhile their opponents, Bengaluru FC rank 6th in the points table with 23 points (6 wins and 5 draws) in 17 matches. They are four points away from fourth-placed Kerala Blasters FC, having played a game more than them. The Blues lost their last match 2-1 against NorthEast United FC. Marco Pezzaiuoli’s men had scored first but NorthEast United FC managed to snatch their points after two late goals. They have now suffered two back-to-back losses.
Odisha FC head coach Kino Garcia and midfielder Redeem Tlang addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference ahead of their match against Bengaluru FC on Monday, 21st February at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.
Below are coach Kino Garcia’s excerpts for the press conference.
Odisha FC defeated Bengaluru FC in the first leg of the season. Garcia shared his thoughts on that before going into the match.
“I think we cannot look at a win in the first half of the season, where teams were in the building process. I think it’s going to be a really difficult match for us and really different. If you see the other day, Bengaluru FC lost to NorthEast United FC, but they were in a run of nine matches without losing earlier on.
“We know the difficulty of playing against Bengaluru FC, they were playing well. I think that we have an advantage, maybe about the physical condition that we could rest more but it is going to be a difficult match for both of us.”
Both the teams are desperately trying to win and make a claim for the semi-finals, especially after Bengaluru FC ends up on the losing side against NorthEast United FC. Garcia spoke regarding it.
“I think they will be in the same situation as us. We were thinking of beating Chennaiyin FC, but we couldn’t. I suppose they were expecting to defeat Northeast in between, but they lost. So both teams, we want to come back. We want to make a good match. We want to secure the points and also for us, it is a big motivation to beat Bengaluru FC again in the same season.”
Jonathas Jesus has now scored five goals in the last five matches. Kino shared his views on that.
“I think that now he’s feeling comfortable in the league as well as in the team, and he’s having the opportunity of scoring goals and helping the team out. So, for us he is doing a great job, he is important for the team, also in defending. He’s finally settled down in the league and he is showing his quality.”
Odisha FC have to win their remaining games in order to keep their semifinal hopes alive and Kino Garcia said the team will fight till the last minute of this campaign.
“We know that this is going to be difficult. We still have a chance and everybody wants to compete until the end. In the game against Bengaluru FC, we know that both teams need a victory to arrive in the last two matches with little hope. So we are motivated and the mood in the camp is okay. We need to learn from our mistakes and keep going.”
The last time the two teams met in their first game of the season, Odisha ran out 3-1 winners but Garcia refused to read too much into that.
“That is too long ago. We can’t think about that now, that was the start of the season. Bengaluru is a good team and had a run of unbeaten games before losing to NorthEast United. So we know it will be a difficult game for us. We have an advantage in physical condition (of the players) as we could rest two days more, but it will be difficult for both teams.”
Below are the excerpts of Redeem Tlang from the press conference.
Redeem spoke about his experience of playing for Odisha FC so far.
“It’s been a good experience for me here since I first came. Firstly, the training sessions, It’s very good. I mean, the atmosphere and to get along with all the players to know them. They helped me a lot, like Aridai Cabrera and every foreign player, especially the coach and everyone helped me a lot. So I’m feeling like I’ve been here for a long time. But, it’s only been one month.”
Tlang spoke about the differences between playing in Odisha FC compared to FC Goa.
“Yes, there is a difference, but different coaches, different systems, different philosophies. And then different thoughts. So there are all these differences, but it’s up to the players to learn, to adapt to how the coach wants to play.”
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