Odisha FC will be out to break its string of draws with a victory when it hosts defending champion Bengaluru FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
It dominated the ball with slick movement and passing, but failed to take its chances and convert its dominance into results. As Gombau seeks to deliver results, he faces a tough challenge in Bengaluru FC.
The Blues are undefeated in the league so far and boast a water-tight defence which has conceded only two goals in six matches.
Odisha will bank on Aridane Santana, who has scored four goals so far, to help breach the Bengaluru backline. But much will depend on playmaker Xisco Hernandez who has the ability to carve open any defence. He has also shown his eye for goals, racking three goals up so far.
The Spaniard will be pumped up for the battle against his former team and will play a huge role in the outcome of Wednesday’s encounter.
Much will also depend on the midfield battle as two technically-gifted sets of players go up against each other. The likes of Marcos Tebar, Vinit Rai and Xisco Hernandez love to get on the ball and dictate play.
But so do Bengaluru’s midfielders, Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Raphael Augusto. Bengaluru comes into this game after a gut-wrenching 1-1 draw in Hyderabad where an injury-time equaliser from Robin Singh denied it a win.
Cuadrat’s team was all over Hyderabad FC throughout the game and should have scored more goals to put the tie to bed. Lack of goals have been a worry for the Blues despite Sunil Chhetri’s recent scoring run. The injured Michael Onwu and Ashique Kuruniyan are yet to open their accounts for the season while Udanta Singh has just one goal to his name so far.
Other third-round matches include Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest, defending champion Manchester City hosts Port Vale, Middlesbrough faces Tottenham and Arsenal was drawn at home to Leeds United.
The matches will take place between January 3-6. Manchester United will be wary against Wolves which eliminated the Old Trafford side in the quarter-finals of last year’s FA Cup.