Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC will eye their second win in the Indian Super League (ISL) when the two sides come face-to-face at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
In its last four matches, Odisha has managed to garner only a single point, which came away to Chennaiyin FC. Coach Josep Gombau has time and again spoken of his preference to play an expansive brand of football and not giving importance to yielding results through a pragmatic approach.
“It is a crucial match. It is a massive game for us. It’s all or nothing. We have a chance to get to nine points and are close to fighting for the play-offs as well,” said Gombau. The Spanish coach would take heart from OFC’s performance against Bengaluru FC last week where it created numerous chances but failed to pick even one point.
The likes of Xisco Hernandez and Jerry Mawihmingthanga have created chances galore but the conversion rate has not been great. The side will once again look upto striker Aridane Santana, who has so far scored four goals.
Set-pieces have been an issue for the home side as four out of the nine goals it has conceded have come through free-kicks or corner-kicks. Hyderabad coach Phil Brown has his hands full as he needs to get his team up and running following its 0-1 defeat to FC Goa.
What makes matters worse is that Marcelinho is suspended for the tie after having accumulated four yellow cards. Its away form is nothing to be proud of. Of the 14 goals against it, 10 have come on the road. But Brown projects a confident picture ahead of the Odisha game.
“As a coach, it’s my responsibility to make sure that players don’t get frustrated with results. Odisha enjoys keeping possession but that doesn’t necessarily win you games. Taking the opportunities certainly does and that’s what we will be trying to do,” said Brown.
The good news for HFC is that centre-back Gurtej Singh and Sahil Panwar are back in contention for a start. But Marko Stankovic will miss the game after suffering a hamstring tear in Hyderabad’s previous match against FC Goa.