Odisha vs Jamshedpur: Preview and Prediction
After 23 weeks of intense action, the final matchday of the current league campaign will kick start from Wednesday, with Odisha set to host Jamshedpur at the Kalinga Stadium looking to seal their place in the knockouts.
After a roller-coaster ride in recent weeks, five teams have confirmed their place in the playoffs, however, the Kalinga Warriors and Goa are still embroiled in a battle for the final qualifying berth. Currently, the Juggernauts occupy sixth place, with 30 points from 19 matches. The Gaurs meanwhile are a place below on 27 points.
Josep Gombau’s men need to avoid a defeat, meaning even a draw would be enough for them to reach the playoffs, but a loss could make things complicated. On the other hand, the Men of Steel only have their pride to play for. They will hope to pip East Bengal to finish in eighth place with a win in their final league game of the campaign.
Talking about the current form of these two sides, both teams come into this fixture on the back of some promising results. In their previous outing, the Kalinga Warriors defeated NorthEast United 3-1 to overtake the Gaurs in the league table.
Whereas, Aidy Boothroyd’s side overcame the defending champions Hyderabad FC 3-2 despite being reduced to 10 men. Unfortunately for the Men of Steel, their woeful form earlier this season meant that they could no longer compete for a playoff berth but judging by their recent results, Boothroyd has them playing some good football.
However, going into next season, these are promising signs for last season’s ISL Shield winners. On the other hand, Gombau’s side began the season on a promising note but their inconsistency nearly derailed their campaign.
The Juggernauts’ most recent win over the Nizams and the Gaurs’ 2-1 defeat to Chennaiyin paved the way for them to overtake Carlos Pena’s side in the table. Now, going into the final fixture of the campaign, the club from Bhubaneshwar only need to avoid a defeat and they will qualify.
As far as the head-to-head record is concerned, the Men of Steel have an upper hand having enjoyed 7 wins from a total of 11 league meetings, while the Juggernauts have prevailed only on 2 occasions. 2 matches between these clubs ended all square, while Gombau’s side claimed a 3-2 win in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
In their 3-1 win over the Highlanders, the Kalinga Warriors lined up in a 4-2-3-1, and we can expect Gombau to continue with the same side for their final league game of the season.
The ever-present Amrinder Singh will start in goal, Narender Gehlot will be at right-back, and Thoiba Singh Moirangthem is expected to fill in as a central defender once again, alongside captain Carlos Delgado and Sahil Panwar.
Raynier Fernandes is likely to form the double-pivot with Saul Crespo whereas the attacking trio of Pedro, Nanda Kumar Sekar and Isak Vanlalruatfela will provide service to Diego Mauricio.
Boothroyd’s side meanwhile will be without Eli Sabia and thus Jitendra Singh is likely to partner with Pratik Chaudhari in the heart of the defense. Rafael Crivellaro is another absentee through injury, so Harry Sawyer will play alongside Daniel Chima Chukwu. T.P. Rehenesh also appeared to struggle with an injury recently and his participation remains doubtful.
Therefore, Vishal Yadav is likely to keep his place in goal, behind the likes of Laldinliana Renthlei, Pratik, Jitendra and Ricky Lallawmawma. The Indian duo of Boris Singh Thangjam and Ritwik Das will provide width from the flanks while Pranoy Halder will partner Jay Emmanuel-Thomas in the centre of the park, behind the two strikers, Chukwu and Sawyer.
Predicted Starting XIs
Odisha (4-2-3-1): Amrinder Singh; Narender Gehlot, Thoiba Singh Moirangthem, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar; Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo; Isak Vanlalruatfela Nandha Kumar, Pedro; Diego Mauricio
Jamshedpur (4-4-1-1): Vishal Yadav; Laldinliana Renthlei, Pratik Chaudhari, Jitendra Singh Ricky Lallawmawma; Boris Singh Thangjam, Pranoy Halder, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Ritwik Das; Harry Sawyer, Daniel Chima Chukwu.
Given the recent resurgence of both these sides, it’s very difficult to pick out a winner, although the Juggernauts will have a slight edge given they will be at home, and the Men of Steel have struggled on the road so far this season.