Goa vs Odisha: Preview and Prediction
Both teams come into this fixture on the back of contrasting fortunes, the Gaurs were beaten at home by Bengaluru 2-0 on Matchday 8, followed by a 4-1 hammering away to Mumbai City, which left them sixth in the league standings. Carlos Pena’s side began the season well but has struggled for consistency of late, and they face another tough outing against the Kalinga Warriors.
Josep Gambau’s men last endured a defeat at the hands of Hyderabad in the first week of November, and since then, they’ve embarked on a three-match winning streak, beating East Bengal, Chennaiyin, and NorthEast United. The Juggernauts will try to put pressure on the teams above them since the Islanders won’t be playing this week, while the Nizams will host the Red and Golds.
Meanwhile, the Goan outfit will try to bounce back to winning ways, but they have their task cut out against an in-form team.
Needless to say that among these two sides, the visitors come into this fixture with momentum on their side. The Eastern Dragons have scored the second-highest goals in the league so far (15), behind the Islanders, but they have also been shaky at the back, conceding 11 times.
They have amassed 18 points from 8 games, and another win would see them go level with points with the league leaders. Gambau’s side began their campaign with a thrilling comeback 3-2 win over Jamshedpur, followed by a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Islanders.
The Juggernauts won two matches back-to-back subsequently against Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru but were given a hard reality check by the Nizams who prevailed 1-0. Since then, the club from Bhubaneshwar have defeated the Red and Golds 4-2, beat the Marina Machans 3-2 and also steered past the Highlanders 2-1.
On the other hand, the Gaurs began their season on a promising note, but they have endured some difficult outings of late. Pena’s men beat the Red and Golds 2-1, followed by a 2-0 win over the Marina Machans. The Fatorda-based club faced their first defeat against the defending champions.
They got back to winning ways by beating the Men of Steel 3-0, however, they suffered another upset as the Tuskers prevailed 3-1. A 3-0 win over the Mariners saw them bounce back to winning ways, but in their next two matches, the Gaurs suffered two defeats back to back against the Blues and later against the league leaders.
The head-to-head record between these two teams has been pretty one-sided so far in the favour of the Goan outfit. In the 18 meetings between the two sides, the Gaurs have won 11 times, while their opponents won just thrice. 4 matches between them ended in a draw. Both the meetings between them last season ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
As far as these two coaches are concerned neither of them have experimented too much with their playing XIs, and they have a very settled core of players on each side.
The only slight concern for Gambau’s men has been the right-back position, where a couple of players have been tried and tested, but in recent matches, Narender Gahlot has been promising.
Apart from this, the Juggernauts are likely to line up in their usual 4-3-3 formation with Amrinder Singh in goal, behind a back-four of Narender, Osama Malik, Carlos Delgado, and Sahil Panwar.
Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo, and Thoiba Singh Moirangthem will be pulling the strings from the midfield while Jerry Mawihmingthnaga, Diego Mauricio and Nishu Kumar will lead the line.
The Gaurs also have a pretty much-settled lineup with Dheeraj Singh in goal, while Seriton Fernandes, Marc Valiente, Anwar Ali and Aibanbha Dohling will marshal the defence. Ayush Dev Chhetri and Edu Bedia have forged a formidable partnership in the middle of the park.
Iker Guarrotxena and Brandon Fernandes are likely to start while Noah Sadaoui and Redeem Tlang will fight it out for a place in the lineup, behind Alvaro Vazquez.
Predicted Starting XIs
Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Narender Gehlot, Osama Malik, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar; Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Singh Moirangthem; Jerry Mawihmingthnaga, Diego Mauricio, Nishu Kumar.
Goa (4-2-3-1): Dheeraj Singh; Seriton Fernandes, Marc Valiente, Anwar Ali, Aibanbha Dohling; Ayush Chhetri, Edu Bedia; Redeem Tlang, Iker Guarrotxena, Brandon Fernandes; Alvaro Vazquez
Given the kind of form the Eastern Dragons have been in having won their three previous games, they will certainly fancy their chances against the Gaurs, who are winless in their past two matches.