Odisha set for 2.0 under Josep Gombau?

Josep Gombau is confident that his team can compete with others who look stronger on paper

In less than two weeks the 2022-23 Indian Super League season will begin with the 11 teams fighting for six spots in the playoffs. Odisha will look to better their seventh-place finish by finishing in the top six and making it to the next stage of the extravaganza footballing event in India. Ahead of the new season, Parimatch News brings an exhaustive analysis of Odisha for ISL 9.

The Juggernauts have brought back Josep Gombau as the coach and will look to make it to the playoffs for the first time and with the top six teams having a shot in the playoffs, this gives the team a good chance to advance to the next round. Meanwhile, like every other ISL team, Odisha took part in the Durand Cup 2022, where they ended as quarter-finalists.

The team won all their four games in the Durand Cup 2022 group stage, they began their campaign with a thumping 6-0 win over NorthEast United before defeating Kerala Blasters 2-0. The team continued their good form beating Sudeva Delhi 3-0 and finishing it with a 1-0 win over Army Green. In the Quarter-finals, the team kept Bengaluru at bay before going down to a last-second goal in extra-time.

A look at last season’s performance

Odisha had come into the season after finishing at the bottom of the points table with just two wins and 12 points in ISL 2020-21. The team however came back strongly to finish seventh with six wins and five draws in the 2021-22 ISL season.

The team started off well winning three of their first four but then were inconsistent throughout the season. The team looked sharp upfront but their struggle at the back continued, with the team conceding the most goals for two seasons in a row. 

New signings ahead of the 2022-23 ISL season

Saul Crespo has a lot of experience under his belt and will be a player to watch out

Saul Crespo has a lot of experience under his belt and will be a player to watch out

With the return of the coach, two former players have also returned to the club for another stint. Odisha has re-signed Carlos Delgado and Diego Maurício while also making the addition of the Spanish trio, midfielder Saul Crespo, winger Víctor Rodríguez, and forward Pedro Martín along with signing Australian defender Osama Malik.

The team has also signed Amrinder Singh, Michael Soosairaj, and Narender Gahlot on permanent transfers while also bringing in Raynier Fernandes and Denechandra Meitei on loan from Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters respectively.

Predicted Starting XI

Amrinder Singh, Shubham Sarangi, Carlos Delgado, Narender Gahlot, Sahil Panwar, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo, Diego Mauricio, Pedro Martin, Nandhakumar Sekar


Odisha’s strength lies in the overall team, which looks like a blend of young and experienced players. The team looked solid in the Durand Cup 2022 group stages, conceding no goals across the four games. 

The team also have two foreigners who are coming back to the setup and a coach who understands the club very well, this should help the team come together strong as a unit, and glimpses of the same were seen during the recently concluded Durand Cup. 


Odisha have conceded 87 goals in the two seasons

Odisha have conceded 87 goals in the two seasons

The Kalinga Warriors have conceded the most goals in the last two seasons of the ISL and that is a huge area of concern for the team. While the team looked solid in the Durand Cup, it will have to replicate the same performances in the ISL throughout the season.

The addition of players like Raynier Fernandes and Michael Soosairaj in midfield would boost the creativity of the Juggernauts and strikers like Mauricio will hugely benefit from the new additions.

Season Prediction

Odisha has tried to assemble an all-round squad and looks well settled in all departments. The team have a very good chance to make to it the playoffs but will need to perform consistently. 

The club conceded 87 goals across two seasons and would be hoping for a turn in their fortunes in the upcoming ISL season. With the inclusion of a seasoned keeper in Amrinder Singh, the team will be hoping that the player can come to their rescue, however, the entire defensive unit will need to come together if the team is to finish in the top half.