Odisha FC is set to make their inaugural appearance in Asia as they go up against the formidable Mohun Bagan team today. Bagan completed their pre-season activities in India, in part due to their AFC Cup Qualifying matches scheduled in the subcontinent. They encountered some tough matches early on, facing qualifying matches against Macchindra and Dhaka Abahani, as well as competing in the Durand Cup tournament, which they ultimately won by defeating their arch-rivals East Bengal. The team under coach Ferrando will be satisfied with their preparations as they gear up for a demanding season ahead.
On the other hand, Odisha FC, led by their new coach Sergio Lobera, traveled to Thailand while their reserve team participated in the Durand Cup. Odisha managed a 1-1 draw against Prime Bangkok FC, along with 1-0 and 2-1 victories against HuaHin FC and Ratchaburi, respectively. Subsequently, they returned back home to get ready under Lobera’s guidance for the forthcoming season.
While securing the Super Cup under the leadership of Clifford Miranda was an impressive achievement for Odisha, their title-winning coach is now part of the Mohun Bagan squad, much to their dissapointment. With Lobera at the helm, Odisha has made some nice moves in the transfer market and has assembled a team strong enough to compete in both Asia and the league.
Recent Performances of Mohun Bagan and Odisha
Mohun Bagan is set to participate in their third consecutive AFC Cup campaign, having successfully navigated the qualifying rounds. They secured passage to the main round by defeating Machhindra and Dhaka Abahani FC, both with a score of 3-1. Anwar Ali’s double and a goal from Cummings helped them secure victory against Machhindra. However, their encounter with Abahani was a tougher challenge as they initially trailed by a goal. Nevertheless, goals from Cummings and Sadiku, along with an own goal, allowed them to go past the Bangladeshi side.
They kicked off their Durand Cup campaign with a convincing five-goal win against Bangladesh Army, fielding a relatively young team. They continued their form with a 2-0 victory over Punjab before experiencing a setback in the season’s first derby against East Bengal. However, they swiftly rebounded with three consecutive wins against the strong Mumbai and Goa sides, ultimately gaining revenge against East Bengal in the finals.
Impressively, Mohun Bagan’s defense has conceded only five goals in their last eight matches, while their attacking prowess has seen them score a total of 19 goals during the same period.
Meanwhile, Odisha FC chose to send their reserve team to the Durand Cup, while the senior squad, led by coach Lobera, embarked on a preseason tour in Thailand. They faced three formidable opponents in Thailand, emerging unscathed from those encounters. Mauricio and Jahouh found the net against Ratchaburi, with the former also contributing with Odisha’s only goals in their two previous friendlies.
Before their preseason activities, under the guidance of Clifford Miranda, Odisha FC secured a historic victory in the Super Cup, marking their first silverware in club history. They commenced with a 1-1 draw against East Bengal but then went on an impressive winning streak, which continued until the final. In the title-deciding match, a brace from Diego Mauricio was enough to defeat Bengaluru FC and lift the trophy. Earlier in the tournament, they also defeated Northeast United, Hyderabad FC, and Aizawl FC.
Since Mohun Bagan joined the Indian Super League, they have clashed with Odisha FC on seven occasions. Out of these seven matches, Mohun Bagan emerged victorious four times and played to three draws. Odisha FC are yet to secure a victory against the Green and Maroon side, and they will be hoping to change this trend in today’s match.
In terms of goals, Mohun Bagan has netted a total of ten goals in the encounters between the two teams, while Odisha FC has managed to score only twice. Furthermore, in their last three meetings, Odisha FC couldn’t find the back of the net against the Bagan goalkeeper, even though they managed to secure two draws. The previous encounter between the two sides saw Manvir Singh and Hugo Boumous scoring, leading the Mariners to a victory. Redeem Tlang and Cole Alexander are the only two Odisha FC players who have managed to score against Mohun Bagan till date.
Mohun Bagan SG – Vishal Kaith, Asish Rai, Hector Yuste, Anwar Ali, Subhashish Bose, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Hugo Boumous, Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, Jason Cummings
Odisha FC – Amrinder Singh, Mourtada Fall, Narender Gahlot, Amey Ranawade, Sahil Panwar, Thoiba, Puitea, Ahmed Jahouh, Jerry, Diego Mauricio, Cy Goddard
When two tactical maestros like Juan Ferrando and Sergio Lobera square off, it becomes a challenging task to predict the final result. However it’s crucial to note that Mohun Bagan’s senior team has already participated in eight competitive matches even before the official season has commenced, suffering only one defeat and emerging victorious in the rest. In contrast, Odisha will field their senior team for their first competitive match of the season today.
Thus, Mohun Bagan will carry the momentum and freshness in their legs, and it will be unsurprising if Odisha appears somewhat rusty. Therefore, Mohun Bagan is expected to enjoy a slight advantage over Lobera’s team, and IFTWC predicts the Mariners are likely to secure a victory.
Telecast and Streaming
The AFC Cup Group Stage opener is scheduled to take place at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today at 7:30 PM IST. For viewers in India looking to watch the game, it will be broadcasted on the Sports18 channel and will also be available for live streaming on Fancode and JioTV.
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