ISL 2021-22: Bengaluru take on Odisha with an eye on momentum

Bengaluru FC Head Coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said his side were keen to build on their winning start in the Indian Super League, when they take on Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan.

Bengaluru FC attacker Sunil Chhetri in training at the Dempo SC facilities in Goa, on Saturday. (Image Credit: Twitter/@bengalurufc)

Bengaluru FC Head Coach Marco Pezzaiuoli said his side were keen to build on their winning start in the Indian Super League, when they take on Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan, on Wednesday. Bengaluru, having won their opening fixture of the season 4-2 against NorthEast United on Saturday, will face the Kalinga Warriors in what will be the Blues’ first away clash of the season and Odisha’s first fixture of the new campaign.

“We’re eager to build on the winning start, and have to be sharper in defence and in midfield; this is something we have been working on in training. It’s a tricky game for us because Odisha FC haven’t played yet, and we don’t know what to expect from them. I think the important thing is to focus on our own game. Odisha don’t know yet where they stand as a team, which gives us a slight advantage. We have points on the board, and we’re keen on adding to that,” Pezzaiuoli said, speaking on the eve of the game.

Odisha FC, with new Head Coach Kiko Ramirez at the helm, have signed as many as four Spanish players in Javi Hernandez, Victor Mongil, Aridai Cabrera and Hector Rodas, as well as Brazilian striker Jonathas and Malaysian midfielder Liridon Krasniqi. Bengaluru, meanwhile, are without winger Leon Augustine who sustained an ankle injury in the clash against NorthEast United.

“Leon will not feature because we are still waiting to understand the extent of his ankle injury. What we do know is that there is no broken bone, but his MRI results are yet to come in and we will need to assess them further before putting a date on his return to the field,” added Pezzaiuoli.

In the corresponding fixture last season, strikes from Sunil Chhetri and Cleiton Silva on either side of a Steven Taylor effort gave the Blues all three points at the GMC Stadium, in Bambolim. Odisha have had little luck in four previous meetings between the two sides, having lost three times to the Blues and earning a point on the other occasion.

Kick-off at the Tilak Maidan between Bengaluru FC and Odisha FC is scheduled for 7.30 pm on Wednesday, and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar and the JioTV app.

Hyderabad fall to 0-1 defeat at Bambolim

Hyderabad FC kicked off their 2021-22 Indian Super League campaign with a 0-1 defeat to Chennaiyin FC here in Bambolim on Tuesday. Manolo Marquez gave starts to overseas trio Edu Garcia, Bart Ogbeche and Juanan, as Hyderabad put in a decent performance but failed to find a goal.

It started with an early change for Hyderabad, who had to get Halicharan Narzary off the field just 10 minutes into the game with a knock. Nikhil Poojary replaced him on the wing and Manolo’s men looked settled for most of the first half.

Chennaiyin were happy to sit back and frustrate the opponents. But it was a story of missed chances for Hyderabad as the likes of Mohammad Yasir, Edu Garcia, Asish Rai and Bart Ogbeche were constantly involved in chances that could have been converted on another day.

Sportslumo Desk

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