ISL: Odisha FC Out To Consolidate Top-Four Spot Against Goa

Bhubaneswar: Odisha FC will look to maintain their 100 per cent record at the Kalinga Stadium when they play hosts to FC Goa here on Wednesday.

Josep Gombau’s side saw their four-match winning streak being brought to a halt in Bengaluru when they went down 3-0 to Bengaluru FC last week.

The club has since signed striker Manuel Onwu on-loan from Bengaluru after Aridane Santana was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Gombau will hope that the new signing can fill in the shoes of Santana who netted nine goals in 14 matches.

Odisha FC are placed fourth on the table and a win would help consolidate their position as the Hero Indian Super League enters its business end.

Interestingly, Odisha FC are yet to score a goal in four matches against the top three teams, namely ATK, FC Goa and Bengaluru FC.

Marcos Tebar is expected to miss the tie due to injury while Shubham Sarangi and Carlos Delgado are suspended due to the accumulation of four yellow cards.

“Goa is a top team, one of the best teams in the league. We know very well how they play. Every single game we play, we have our own style. But also depending on the opponents, we do change a few things. We have practiced this week and I think the boys are ready,” said Gombau.

On the other hand, Goa have suffered two defeats in their last two matches away from home. Coach Sergio Lobera will be keen to ensure that his side do not suffer a blip on Wednesday evening when they will miss the services of midfielder Ahmed Jahouh. The onus will once again be on Hugo Boumous, who has scored six goals and assisted four this season. Edu Bedia is expected to be named in the line-up which would mean more creativity for the visitors in the middle of the park.

Goa have been the most prolific when it comes to scoring away from home – 14 – and have a tendency to up the ante in the second half having netted 16 goals. They can ill afford to drop points at this stage with ATK leading the table on a better head-to-head count and Bengaluru FC breathing down their neck being just two points adrift.

“This season is very difficult and very competitive with all teams wanting to win. For us, it’s a big challenge and hopefully, we can get the first spot and win the ISL. So we are working in this direction,” said the former Las Palmas coach.

(IANS)