Odisha vs Mohun Bagan Super Giant: Preview and Prediction
MBSG and Odisha are drawn in Group D along with the likes of Bangladesh Football Premier League side Bashundhara Kings and Dhivehi Premier League club, Maziya Sports & Recreational Club based in Maldives.
Both Indian Super League sides are seen as the favorites to top the table, especially the Mariners. Earlier this month, Mohun Bagan defeated their arch-rivals, East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby to win the prestigious 2023 Durand Cup.
In addition to that, the Mariners have also become the most successful in the history of the annual domestic football competition with 17 titles, leaving the Red and Yellow Brigade behind, who have won the Durand Cup 16 times.
In the preliminary rounds, Mohun Bagan squared off against Nepal-based Machhindra. Playing at the Salt Lake Stadium, the Mariners managed to record a comfortable win over the neighbouring rivals. Anwar Ali broke the deadlock in the 38th minute and Jason Cummings helped the side double the lead in the 58th minute.
Trying to flame the hope of a draw, Messouke Oloumou scored for Machhindra, however, the 3-1 victory was cemented with the help of a strike from Anwar Ali. At the same venue, they later locked horns against Bangladesh Premier League club Abahani Dhaka in a qualification-securing match.
Cornelius Stewart gave an early lead to the Bangladesh-based side, however, a couple of blunders made by Abahani Dhaka, eventually became the reason for their loss. Cummings equalized the game for Mohun Bagan with a penalty after an unnecessary foul in the keeper’s box.
In addition to that, Milad Sheykh Soleimani later scored an own goal and doubled the lead for the Mariners. Consequently, the victory was eventually locked by the 2023 Durand Cup champions with a goal from Armando Sadiku in the 60th minute.
Unlike the Mariners, Odisha’s current form is slightly concerning. In the first match of their pre-season tour in Thailand, the Kalinga Warriors played a 1-1 draw against the likes of the Thai League club.
Odisha later headed towards Hua Hin, outside Bangkok. Playing against the Thai League 3 Western region side, Hua Hin City, the Juggernauts managed to grasp a narrow 1-0 win over Prachuap Khiri Khan Province-based club. Hence, before starting their Indian Super League campaign against Chennaiyin on Saturday, they’ll have a massive challenge to overcome in the AFC Cup.
Mohun Bagan SG and Odisha have locked horns against each other for a total of seven times. In addition to that, all of their meetings have taken place in the Indian Super League.
The Mariners have managed to record four wins while three of their matches have ended as a draw. Unfortunately, the Kalinga Warriors are yet to record a win over the Salt Lake Outfit.
Taking a look at the statistics, Mohun Bagan SG has scored 10 goals while Odisha has only found the back of the net twice.
Odisha will be making their debut in the AFC Cup and they will be playing their home matches at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The head coach of the Kalinga Warriors, Sergio Lobera has stated that he is confident about his team and they’ll be giving their best against the Mariners at the AFC Cup.
No injuries or suspensions have been recorded by Odisha. Hence, their whole squad will be available for the mega clash between the two Indian Super League sides. Amrinder Singh will be possibly leading the Kalinga Warriors in their debut campaign in the Asian tournament, while Roy Krishna is expected to share the duties with the Fijian striker experienced at the top level in AFC competitions.
Just like Odisha, Mohun Bagan Super Giant is also prepared for the AFC Cup test with full strength with the exception of Ashique Kuruniyan who sustained a knee injury in the Blue Tigers’ clash against Iraq in the King’s Cup opener in Thailand and the winger will be missing a few months of action.
Predicted Starting XI
Odisha (4-1-2-1-2): Amrinder Singh, Narender Gahlot, Ahmed Jahouh, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar, Thoiba Singh, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Princeton Rebello, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Roy Krishna, Deigo Mauricio
Mohun Bagan Super Giant (3-5-2): Vishal Kaith, Anwar Ali, Hector Yuste, Subhashish Bose, Manvir Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Hugo Boumous, Liston Colaco, Jason Cummings, Armando Sadiku
Juan Ferrando’s Mohun Bagan is currently in blazing form as they have recorded consecutive wins over the likes of other ISL sides as well as in the preliminary rounds of the AFC Cup. Hence, they’ll be going forward in the opening matchday of the Asian tournament as the favorites to top the group and qualify for the next round.