Odisha vs Mumbai City: Preview and Prediction
Mumbai City will be gracing the grand stage of the Indian Super League for the first time in the year 2023 with an aim to reclaim their crown of table-toppers. They will be up against Odisha, also determined to extend their stay in the Top 6 of the league standings. The high-profile encounter of Matchday 12 will be hosted by Kalinga Stadium of Bhubaneswar on Monday.
Odisha kick-started their ninth edition journey in style by thrashing the defending Premiership champions Jamshedpur in a high-scoring saga in their opening fixture. Despite having such a great start to their 2022-23 ISL campaign, the Juggernauts failed to stay consistent by it and only managed to perform in patches. The Kalinga Warriors are currently seated at the bottom of the Top 6 with a hefty five-point lead over the seventh-placed Chennaiyin side.
The first and only double-champions of India’s top-flight football league have ruled the first half of the 2022-23 ISL season with a sheer goal-scoring domination. The offensive unit of the Islanders has scored a whopping tally of 32 goals in 11 fixtures out of which a mammoth 26 goals came in their last eight appearances. Mumbai was overthrown by Hyderabad from the pole position of the standings a couple of days ago and the Islanders will be back to seek revenge and earn back their throne.
The Juggernauts put up a great fight against Kerala Blasters in front of a packed Manjappada crowd but couldn’t maintain it till the end. A late winner from Kerala Blasters’ Sandeep Singh took all the hard work of the Eastern Dragons and turned it into nothing at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium of Kochi. It was the third straight fixture where the Kalinga Warriors failed to clinch all three match points marking it their fourth losing outcome of the season.
On the other hand, the Islanders hosted the two-time champions Chennaiyin at Mumbai Football Arena on the previous matchday and went on to emerge victorious despite conceding the opening goal of the match. A 34th-minute strike from Petar Sliskovic brought Marina Machans onto the driving seat and also gave them hope for their fourth away victory of the season. However, it was followed by an incredible comeback of the Sky Blues as the goals from Lallianzuala Chhangte (38′) and Greg Stewart (57′) saved them from an upset on home turf.
The Juggernauts have faced Mumbai City in the Indian top-flight league 17 times to date with the Men in Sky Blues currently leading the head-to-head rivalry with the Kalinga Warriors after registering 11 triumphs over their southeastern counterparts. Meanwhile, the semifinalists of 2015 and 2016 have marched victoriously against the Maharashtrian outfit five times in the history of this league.
The two combatants shared the same battlefield on the second matchday of the current season when the Odisha roster travelled to the City of Dreams and suffered their defeat of the season. The first-half action went goalless at Mumbai Football Arena as an own goal by Odisha defender Shubham Sarangi broke the deadlock for Mumbai in the 50th minute. Then the Hero of the 2020-21 season finale, Bipin Singh scored his trademark injury-time winner to ensure the maiden three-point triumph of the Islanders.
It was back in January 2020 when the Islander travelled all the way to the capital city of Odisha for a top-flight fixture. The gaffer Josep Gombau guided his Kalinga Warriors towards a comfortable victory against an in-form Mumbai side which eventually finished as the semi-finalists. Two second-half strikes from Spaniards Aridane Santana (47′) and Xisco Hernandez (74′) played a pivotal role in the Juggernauts’ heroics of thrashing the heavyweights.
It seems like the Mumbai gaffer Des Buckingham has finally got the combination of his Starting Eleven which he fielded in the last two fixtures. The Englishman named an unchanged lineup against Chennaiyin indicating that this combination of players along with a 4-2-3-1 formation is key to success which he will be retained in the forthcoming game as well.
The awaited return of the team’s first-choice skipper Mourtada Fall has brought stability to the side which even encourages the holding midfielders Ahmed Jahouh and Lalengmawia Ralte to take more part in offensive moves.
The decision of benching Diego Mauricio and Jerry Mawihmingthanga at the kick-off and not having them on the field for the majority of the game really cost Josep Gombau big chucks. Hence we may expect both of the Kalinga attackers to make it to the starting XI of the Juggernauts this Monday. The 31-year-old Brazilian striker Mauricio is a club legend for Odisha and has the highest goal contribution (3 goals and 3 assists) for the Bhubaneswar-based club this season.
Predicted Starting XIs
Odisha (3-4-3): Amrinder Singh; Narender Gehlot, Carlos Delgado (c), Sahil Panwar; Osama Malik, Raynier Fernandes, Thoiba Singh, Jerry Mawihmingthanga; Diego Mauricio, Pedro Martin, Nandhakumar Sekar
Mumbai City (4-2-3-1): Phurba Lachenpa; Rahul Bheke, Mourtada Fall (c), Mehtab Singh Sandhu, Mandar Rao Desai; Ahmed Jahouh, Lalengmawia Ralte; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Greg Stewart, Bipin Singh; Jorge Pereyra Diaz
Not just for this fixture but this Mumbai City side is accommodated with such a star-power and on-paper strength that cannot be matched by any ISL side in the current edition. Meanwhile, the Sky Blue outfitters will also be having an additional psychological advantage of better current form and head-to-head record. Hence it is evident that the Islanders will be turning up for this away encounter as favorites and the home team will have to pull off an upset to trample down the title contenders.