After an excellent start to the season, fifth-place side Odisha FC face Northeast United FC, who are currently placed eight on the table. Odisha FC have won two matches and lost one game this season. Whereas their opponents, Northeast United FC, have won one match while losing one match and drawing the other game. The Juggernauts lost 2-1 to Kerala Blasters in their last game. On the other hand, the Highlanders won 2-1 against FC Goa. It, therefore, promises to be an exciting match tonight. Let’s take a look at the match preview and the excitement it promises to bring.
Team News and Injuries
For Odisha FC, defender Hector Rodas looks doubtful with an ankle injury, having subbed off in the last game. Kiko Ramirez also revealed that forward Jonathas de Jesus is still recovering. He has resumed training, but the Odisha boss said the NorthEast United game would be a little too early for him.
NorthEast United FC have been plagued with injuries, with Federico Gallego ruled out for the remainder of the season. Forward Deshorn Brown came on for the final 15 minutes against FC Goa and is still far from full fitness.
3 Indian Players to Watch Out for
The 24-year-old midfielder has been in exceptional form for the Juggernauts last season and has become a regular starter since then. Kiko Ramirez has put his trust in the midfielder to lead the attack. He played a key role in Odisha’s first two wins this season. It will be tough to keep the NEUFC defenders from stopping his pinpoint crosses.
The attacking midfielder is one of the standout performers for NorthEast United. He scored in their last game against FC Goa. After the departure of Ninthoi, he finds himself as a key figure on the wings. Coach Khalid Jamil trusted him, and he certainly didn’t fail to deliver. His versatility to play anywhere in the forward line is an essential weapon for the Highlanders.
The captain of the team, someone who has the task of controlling the tempo and dictating play from the middle of the park, it is safe to say that he is acing well at the role. He was pivotal in the matches against Bengaluru FC and SC East Bengal. He will threaten NorthEast United attackers as he is known for his interceptions and long-range killer passes.
3 Foreign Players to Watch Out for
The Spanish playmaker is on the form of his life, having scored three goals and made two assists. His performance in the midfield cannot be measured in numbers, and his ability to carry the ball into the final third, dribble out of tight spaces, and his understanding to find space between the lines makes him a very dangerous proposition to come up against. With an accurate passing rate and good from set-pieces, he is a constant menace to opposition midfielders and defenders, as he picks the right pass and can take on players and run past them as if they are not there. He is deadly from set-pieces, with two of his goals were scored from corner and free-kick, respectively.
The Mauritanian International central-midfielder who cemented his place for the Highlanders last season is integral to their midfield. His strong presence in the midfield is a threat to opposition strikers. Khassa scored his first-ever goal in the ISL in the last match against FC Goa. He has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders to augment the midfield after the injury to Federico Gallego. Thus he will have to step up and use all his experience to stop Javi Hernandez from being available.
The 33-year-old Spaniard, who joined Odisha FC this season, has scored four goals already. In the absence of Jonathas, who suffered an injury, Aridai is proving to become a significant player who can solve the Juggernaut’s attacking woes, which troubled them last season. Despite being in his early thirties, he has proved he is still more than capable of leading the attack for his team. Bringing with him a wealth of experience and his natural ability to poach any loose ball in and around the opposition goal makes him a defender’s nightmare.
The two sides have met on four occasions. NorthEast United FC has managed to win two out of those four games. In comparison, Odisha FC have won one game and the other game ended in a draw. Last season, the Highlanders came out 3-1 winners against the Juggernauts, while the second match had ended in a 2-2 stalemate.
After a difficult start to the season and losing two matches, Khalid Jamil’s side won one game while the other ended in a draw. They will look to get their second win of the season. At the same time, Kiko Ramirez will be hoping that his team will continue the excellent run against the Highlanders. Odisha FC began the season surprisingly as they won two consecutive matches. Although they lost their last game, they will hope to make a solid comeback to win it. When these two sides face, it is usually a tight game, with few goals. But given the firepower at the Juggernaut’s disposal, IFTWC predicts a 2-1 win for Odisha FC.
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