Preview: NorthEast United face uphill task against Odisha FC

Preview: NorthEast United face uphill task against Odisha FC

The two teams are having completely contrasting campaigns so far.

Odisha FC will be eager to continue their amazing start to the season when they take on NorthEast United in the ISL 2022-23 fixture on Friday. The team will be going into the game on the back of two successive wins. The Juggernauts will play the game at their home in Bhubaneswar at the Kalinga Stadium.

Last week, the team won their home game against Chennaiyin FC in a thriller in which they clinched the match through a goal from Nandhakumar Sekar in the dying moments of the game. Josep Gombau and his men will thus look to take inspiration from that game going into Friday’s fixture.

On the other hand, NorthEast United could not have asked for a worse start to their campaign. They are the only team in the league to not have won any match yet. They have lost all of their seven games and are yet to get their first points of the season. Thus, the team will be desperate to register their first points against Odisha. With Odisha’s current form, this is not going to be easy for the Highlanders, especially at the home of the Kalinga Warriors.

In light of these, let us take a look at what the encounter has to offer.

The Stakes

Odisha FC

Friday’s game is of huge importance for Odisha FC as a win will take them to 18 points, levelling them with the current league leaders Mumbai City. This fact alone is enough to make Gombau’s men put in their 100 per cent to get three points. Moreover, the side will be eyeing to keep up their current momentum and extend their winning run. With the bad patch through which NorthEast United are currently going through, Odisha FC will be unwilling to leave the pitch without a win.

Odisha FC is currently placed in the third position on the points table with 15 points from seven games. Hence, it is a perfect opportunity for them to get three points and continue their pursuit of a top-of-the-table finish.

NorthEast United

When compared with Odisha FC, the situation is radically different at NorthEast United. The Highlanders do not have a single point, having lost all of their seven games. Hence, they desperately need at least one point from Friday’s game. The best possible outcome for the side would be a win as a win will not only fetch three points for the side but will also boost their morale. In this respect, Marco Balbul will have to keep on motivating his side so that they can dig deep to get their first points of the season.

NorthEast United is currently languishing at the bottom of the table with no points. A win on Friday will fetch them the first points of the season. Still, it would not be enough to change the position of the side on the points table.

Injury & Team News

For Odisha FC, Michael Soosairaj and Shubham Sarangi are out for a long-term injury.

Meanwhile, NorthEast United have a fit squad at their disposal!

Head-to-Head

To date, Odisha FC and Northeast United have met six times in ISL. Odisha have won only three games out of these six whereas NorthEast United have won two games. The remaining game ended in a draw.

Played – 6

Odisha FC – 3

NorthEast United – 2

Drawn – 1

Predicted Line-ups

Odisha FC XI (4-3-3)

Amrinder Singh (GK); Denechandra Meitei, Nikhil Prabhu, Carlos Delgado, Sahil Panwar, Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo, Thoiba Singh, Diego Mauricio, Pedro Martin, Nandhakumar Sekar

NorthEast United (4-3-3)

Arindam Bhattacharya (GK); Joe Zoherliana, Aaron Evans, Michael Jakobsen, Gurjinder Kumar, Romain Philippoteaux, Jon Gaztanaga, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Imran Khan, Parthib Gogoi, Rochharzela

Player to Watch

Nandhakumar Sekar (Odisha FC)

Nandhakumar Sekar in action against Chennaiyin FC. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Nandhakumar Sekar has been a big discovery for Odisha FC this season. The 26-year-old left winger has scored thrice for the Juggernauts and is on a streak of scoring in two back-to-back games. His combination play with Diego Mauricio/Pedro Martin and Jerry Mawihmingthanga has been paying good dividends for the side as Odisha’s attacking prowess is being hailed by many. Nandha would like to continue his form against a hapless NorthEast United and extend his scoring streak to a third game.

Nandha has definitely been a revelation for Odisha FC. If he is able to continue his current form throughout the season, it will be no surprise to see him get a call to the national squad.

Parthib Gogoi (NorthEast United)

Parthib Gogoi is the only Indian goal-scorer for NorthEast United this season. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Parthib Gogoi was the sole goal-scorer for NorthEast United in their game against Mumbai City. He is the first Indian scorer from the side this season. It was from his goal that NorthEast equalized in the game. Hence, it will be interesting to see if he starts the game against Odisha. With not too many goal-scorers being a part of the squad, it will be surprising to see him not getting a start.

Related News |ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Did You Know?

Odisha FC have made three comeback wins this season so far – against Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters, and the latest against East Bengal.

Odisha FC have scored four goals in the last five minutes of three of their games.

This is the worst start to a season for NorthEast United.

Telecast

The match between Odisha FC and NorthEast United will take place at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on December 2nd (Friday). The kick-off time is 7:30 pm IST. The game will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.

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Source

Sports