Odisha vs East Bengal: Preview and Prediction

unnamed   2024 02 29T183410.308
The last meeting between these two teams ended in a 0-0 draw

In the fourth fixture of Matchday 17 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season, Odisha will take on East Bengal at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

This match will be extremely crucial for both matches but for very different reasons. For Odisha, a win will help their cause of winning the league, as they are currently placed first in the standings with 32 points from 16 matches.

On the other hand, East Bengal is fighting a different battle. Placed eighth with 18 points from 16 matches, they might not be involved in the title race, but the Torchbearers are very much involved in the race for the playoffs.

Current Form

Odisha did not have the best of starts to their journey this season as they won just one of their first four matches. The Kalinga Warriors defeated Chennaiyin 2-0 in their first match, but then drew 2-2 against Mumbai City and lost 2-3 and 1-2 against Goa and Kerala Blasters respectively.

Sergio Lobera’s team then won their next three matches defeating Bengaluru 3-2, NorthEast United 1-0, and Jamshedpur 1-0. The winning run halted when Mohun Bagan Super Giant restricted them to a 2-2 draw, but they ended 2023 with three wins – against Hyderabad, Punjab, and Jamshedpur, and a draw – against East Bengal.

After a decent Kalinga Super Cup campaign where they narrowly missed out on the title, Odisha have remained unbeaten in the league. They have won two matches, beating Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad. The other two matches against Goa and Mohun Bagan Super Giant ended in a draw.

On the other hand, East Bengal had a very difficult start to the season as they won only one of their first five matches. The Torchbearers drew their first match against Jamshedpur, then defeated Hyderabad but it was followed by three back-to-back defeats against Bengaluru, Goa and Kerala Blasters.

It was followed by a comeback where Carles Cuadrat’s men were unbeaten in their next six games, although they won just one of those matches. East Bengal defeated NorthEast United while drawing against Chennaiyin, Punjab, Mumbai City, Odisha, and MBSG.

The Kalinga Super Cup champions then suffered two consecutive losses against NorthEast United and Mumbai City but defeated Hyderabad 1-0. After another loss against Jamshedpur, they bounced back with a win against Chennaiyin in their last match.

Head to Head Record

When it comes to head-to-head records, Odisha is miles ahead of East Bengal. These two teams have met seven times in the league, where the Kalinga Warriors have won five games while the Torchbearers have won just one match. The other match ended in a draw.

The previous meeting, which took place back in December at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan, saw both teams creating plenty of chances and missing all of them, as the match ended 0-0.

Team News

Odisha coach Lobera will be a happy man coming into this game, as he will have a full-strength squad at his disposal. The Spanish tactician missed Ahmed Jahouh in the last match against the Mariners, as he was serving a one-game suspension.

But having served that, the Moroccan midfield maestro is likely to slot back in midfield for Odisha. Jahouh could be seen replacing Lenny Rodrigues in this match, but to keep the overseas count to four, Spanish central defender Carlos Delgado might have to make way for Narender Gahlot.

East Bengal central defender Maher will miss this match after accumulating four yellow cards

Emotions will be completely different in the East Bengal camp, as while Lobera will celebrate Jahouh’s return, Cuadrat will rue the absence of his defensive wall Hijazi Maher. The Jordanian central defender will not be available for this match as after accumulating four yellow cards over the course of the season, he needs to serve a one-match ban.

Meanwhile, Saul Crespo is nearing a return to the grass but this match might come a bit too soon for the Spanish midfield maestro.

Predicted Starting XIs

Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Amey Ranawade, Mourtada Fall, Narender Gahlot, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Princeton Rebello, Ahmed Jahouh, Puitea; Roy Krishna, Diego Mauricio, Isak Vanlalruatfela.

East Bengal (4-2-3-1): Prabhsukhan Gill; Mohamad Rakip, Lalchungnunga, Aleksandar Pantic, Mandar Rao Dessai; Victor Vazquez, Souvik Chakrabarti; Naorem Mahesh Singh, Cleiton Silva, Nandhakumar Sekar; Felicio Brown Forbes.


East Bengal might have regained some of their lost confidence after beating fellow top-six contender Chennaiyin in their last match, but Odisha is ahead both on current form and squad strength. Meanwhile, the absence of Hijazi can also prove costly for the Kolkata-based club.