Odisha vs Hyderabad: Preview and Prediction
Odisha had a difficult start to their campaign which saw them parting ways with head coach Kiko Ramirez, but they have shown signs of improvement in their recent fixtures. With 17 points from 12 matches, the Kalinga Warriors are occupying sixth place in the league standings.
Though we are still early doors in this competition, it will be fair to give Hyderabad the tag of ‘title contenders, as they have had an impressive campaign so far. The Nizams were placed at the top of the table at the time of writing this article, having accumulated 20 points from their 12 fixtures.
Though Hyderabad and Odisha are separated by five places in the standings, there is not much to separate them when it comes to head-to-head records. Both Kalinga Warriors and the Nizams have accumulated four points from their last three fixtures and are unbeaten in their previous two outings.
Odisha is coming into this match on the back of a goalless stalemate against ATK Mohun Bagan, while they handed NorthEast United a 2-0 defeat before that. These two results were of utmost importance for Kino Garcia’s team, as before facing the Highlanders, his men suffered a 2-0 defeat against Kerala Blasters.
The Hyderabad camp will be oozing with confidence ahead of this clash as they brushed aside East Bengal in their last match by a comprehensive margin of 4-0, courtesy of a Bartholomew Ogbeche hat-trick.
The two matches before that saw Manolo Marquez’s men struggling to grind results against their South India rivals, as while they held Chennaiyin to a 1-1 draw, the boys in yellow were handed a 1-0 defeat by Kerala Blasters in the match before.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records between these two teams are neck-and-neck. Hyderabad and Odisha have won two each of the five meetings between them, with one match not producing a winner.
The Kalinga Warriors might still have nightmares of the first meeting of this season, where they were handed a 6-1 humiliation by Hyderabad. An Ogbeche brace, a Hector Rodas own goal, and strikes from Edu Garcia, Javi Siverio, and Joao Victor comprised the Nizams’ six goals, whilst a Juanan own goal was Odisha’s solitary consolation.
Garcia’s decision to reinstate Nandhakumar Sekar in the starting XI against ATK Mohun Bagan did not produce the desired result as the left winger failed to create a single chance. He is expected to make way for Aridai Cabrera.
The former Girona attacker is likely to lead the lines for the Kalinga Warriors, with his Spanish compatriot Javi Hernandez playing in a slightly withdrawn role. To maintain overseas count, central defender Hector Rodas might have to make way for Nikhil Prabhu.
Manolo Marquez can opt to field the same starting XI that outplayed East Bengal, but it will not be surprising to see one tweak. Interestingly, the Spanish tactician played only three overseas foreigners in the last game, but we can see him utilizing the maximum quota of four here.
Edu Garcia can be recalled into the team at the expense of Nikhil Poojari, who did not create any chance against the Red and Golds and had only 37 touches of the ball.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Odisha (4-2-3-1): Arshdeep Singh; Lalhrezuala Sailung, Nikhil Prabhu, Victor Mongil, Sahil Panwar; Thoiba Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma; Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Liridon Krasniqi, Javi Hernandez; Aridai Cabrera.
Hyderabad (4-2-3-1): Laxmikant Kattimani; Asish Rai, Joao Victor, Chinglensana Singh, Akash Mishra; Hitesh Sharma, Sauvik Chakrabarti; Edu Garcia, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Aniket Jadhav; Javi Siverio.
Hyderabad will be in high spirits after their previous triumph, while their current position in the standings will tell us all we need to know about their performances. Accordingly, we have predicted a 2-0 win for the Nizams in this match.