Odisha vs Goa: Preview and Prediction
Both teams come into the game with red-hot form and will look to register a statement win that solidifies their claim for the Shield. With the league entering its business phase of the season, there is no doubt a victory would galvanise either side and give them the confidence to go all the way.
The onus for Odisha will be to keep their winning run going as head coach Sergio Lobera will be facing his old side and will want to register their fifth win in the league on the trot. They have a 3-point lead over Goa on the table, but they also have played three games more so a win is key for the Juggernauts in the monumental clash.
For Goa, revenge will be on the cards as they lost to Odisha in their final group game of the Kalinga Super Cup at the same venue and crashed out of the tournament. Manolo Marquez will be primed to regain the top spot and ensure the Gaurs continue to remain the only unbeaten side in the league so far.
The Goa head coach feels that the match against Lobera’s side will be a challenging proposition for both sides as the top five sides are still in contention for the title.
“I think that we are facing a team that is a very good moment. It will be a tough game for us but it will be a tough game for them too. The target for all top five teams is to be the champion.”
Both sides come into this game having beaten a stuttering Hyderabad in their last league fixture.
Odisha destroyed the Nizams 3-0 with the duo of Roy Krishna and Diego Mauricio coming good again as they scored all three goals between themselves. While Roy leads the Golden Boot race with 10 goals to his name, Diego is not far behind with 6 goals in his account this season.
The Juggernauts actually have scored the most goals in the league so far, ripping the back of the net 27 times and have lost only two matches so far. They have not lost a game since Matchday 5 in the league, and their performance in the Kalinga Super Cup where they went all the way to the final and lost it only in added time goes to show just how difficult a side they are to conquer.
Odisha has also bagged 10.2 sequences of 10+ passes per game in the league thus far, displaying just how adept they have been at Lobera’s possession-based style of football.
Forward Carlos Martinez hit a brace for Goa in the game against Hyderabad taking his tally for the season to 5 goals. Not only are Goa the joint second-highest goalscorers in the league so far with 18 goals but they have also conceded only 5 goals, the lowest in the league.
The form is definitely not something they are short of as the Gaurs have won 3 of their last 5 league games and 2 of their 3 matches in the Kalinga Super Cup.
Head to Head Record
Historically, Goa has had the upper hand in this fixture across all competitions, having beaten Odisha 6 times so far. The Juggernauts have only won once and drawn four times since they shifted base to Bhubaneswar in the 2019-20 ISL season.
The reverse fixture in the league saw Goa defeat Odisha 3-2 at home, with defender Jay Gupta scoring the winner in the sixth minute of injury time in the second half. Noah Sadaoui and Mourtada Fall both scored a brace each during the match, making it an end-to-end thriller.
Fall was on the money with a brace in their Kalinga Super Cup fixture too, while Carlos scored both goals from Goa’s end. It was Ahmed Jahouh’s strike that helped Odisha clinch the game 3-2 in their favor.
For Odisha, goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, defender Jerry Lalrinzuala, midfielder Ahmed Jahouh, and forward Pranjal Bhumij are all on three yellow cards and could face suspensions if they pick up one more booking in the fixture against Goa.
For Marquez’s side, no cards or suspension problems plague them and the playing XI would most likely be determined based on performances during training with a potential debut for Nim Dorjee Tamang on the cards.
Predicted Starting XIs
Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Amey Ranawade, Narender Gahlot, Mourtada Fall, Vignesh Dakshinamurthy; Lenny Rodrigues, Ahmed Jahouh, Puitea; Roy Krishna, Diego Mauricio, Isak Vanlalruatfela
Goa (4-2-3-1): Arshdeep Singh; Seriton Fernandes, Odei Onaindia, Narayan Das, Jay Gupta; Borja Herrera, Ayush Dev Chhetri; Boris Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Noah Sadaoui; Carlos Martinez
The fans can expect another thriller on their plate as these titans go for another bout in what has been an affair to watch out for. There is little doubt that it will be a clash of Odisha’s offense against Goa’s defense and whoever holds on to their nerves better on the night, will emerge as the winner.