Bengaluru vs Odisha: Preview and Prediction
While the Durand Cup 2022 triumph set high expectations for Bengaluru, they have had a season to forget so far. The Blues have won only four of their first 13 matches, and have accumulated 13 points. Simon Grayson’s team currently sits eighth in the standings.
Odisha, on the other hand, has been slightly better as compared to its opponents. The Kalinga Warriors have won seven of their 13 matches and have picked up 22 points. Josep Gambau’s team is placed fifth and is a strong contender to advance to the next round.
While their current position in the standings might not portray it, Bengaluru had a fairly decent start to their campaign as they were unbeaten in their first two matches, where they defeated NorthEast United and drew against Chennaiyin. However, the Blues then lost four matches on the trot – Hyderabad, Odisha, East Bengal and Mumbai City.
The next few weeks were slightly better, where Grayson’s team won against Goa and Jamshedpur and suffered losses against ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters. They then suffered back-to-back defeats against Hyderabad and East Bengal, before beating NorthEast United.
Like their opposition, Odisha also had a good start to their campaign. They won three of their first four matches – defeating Jamshedpur, Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru, and losing only against Mumbai City. After suffering their second defeat against Hyderabad, the Kalinga Warriors bounced back to consecutive wins against East Bengal, Chennaiyin and NorthEast United.
At that stage, it seemed that Odisha could also be a contender for the top two, but everything went wrong for Gambau’s men over the last few weeks. They remained winless in their next four matches, of which they lost three- against Goa, Kerala Blasters, and Mumbai City. However, they finally broke the streak by clinching the much-needed three points against East Bengal in their last match.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are inclined in favour of Bengaluru. The Blues have won six of the previous 11 meetings against Odisha, with the Kalinga Warriors winning four matches. The only other fixture ended in a stalemate.
The first meeting of this season, which took place back in October, resulted in a 1-0 win for Odisha. Winger Nandhakumar Sekar scored the winner in the 33rd minute of the game, as the Blues’ attempts of restoring parity went in vain.
While his team might have beaten NorthEast United 2-1 in their last fixture, Grayson might still make changes to his starting XI, considering they left it very late against the Highlanders.
Especially, the midfield region might need a tweak, Though Javi Hernandez and Suresh Singh Wangjam looked in place, Rohit Kumar was not as effective. He might have to make way for the 26-year-old midfielder from Jammu & Kashmir, Danish Farooq, for this encounter.
Similarly, Gambau could also make changes to his team, even though his men defeated East Bengal 3-1 in the last match. Osama Malik was not very influential, and in his place, Narender Gahlot could slot in at centre-back, with Sahil Panwar starting as left-back.
This will free up an overseas slot for the Spanish tactician, which he could utilize by fielding Victor Rodriguez in midfield. To make way for the former Real Zaragoza player, Thoiba Singh could be dropped to the bench.
Bengaluru (3-5-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Alan Costa, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Parag Shrivas; Prabir Das, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Javi Hernandez, Danish Farooq, Roshan Naorem; Sivasakthi Narayanan, Roy Krishna.
Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Denechandra Meitei, Carlos Delgado, Narender Gahlot, Sahil Panwar; Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo, Victor Rodriguez; Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Diego Mauricio, Nandhakumar Sekar.
While head-to-head records might favour Bengaluru, Odisha has played a much more attractive brand of football this season, which is evident from the difference in points accumulated by the two teams. Hence, we have predicted the Kalinga Warriors to win this match.