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ISL 2020-21: Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC - Where it will be won

ISL 2020-21: Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC - Where it will be won

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 17 Dec 2020 8:45 AM GMT

It is going to be David against Goliath as Odisha FC take on Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) tonight. While the Kalinga Warriors are yet to bag a victory this season, the Blues are still unbeaten having won two of their five matches so far. Both sets of players will be looking to make a mark at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim tonight which means a number of subplots within the game itself.

Dimas Delgado in a free midfield role

Dimas has been the absolute fulcrum for Bengaluru this season. His impeccable passing, game reading and ability to break opposition defensive lines with a long ball make him an indispensable asset for Carles Cuadrat. He is also a threat from set-pieces and at 37, is still fit enough to put in a couple of crunching tackles in if required. Having also found the net in the last game, the Spaniard will have his tail up and can be the main creative spark for the Blues if left unchecked.


Ashique Kuruniyan vs Shubham Sarangi

The battle between these two youngsters is going to be fascinating. Ashique has always been a talented winger. But in the last few games, he has made the left-back position his own with Cuadrat preferring a back-4. Although there are chinks in his defensive armour, going forward he is one of the most lethal players in the league and will be looking to overlap past Sunil Chhetri whenever possible. Sarangi, who has been one of Odisha’s only bright spots, will therefore have his hands full in trying to nullify his threat. The 20-year-old recently signed a contract extension with the club and will look to prove his worth once again having already made 16 tackles, 10 interceptions and 11 blocks this campaign.

Onwu and Mauricio bringing the midfielders into play

Because their midfield hasn’t clicked yet, head coach Stuart Baxter’s two main strikers have both looked isolated upfront in most of the matches so far. Although they have a good midfield base in Gaurav Bora and Cole Alexander, their star midfielder Marcelinho’s dip in form hasn’t allowed them to play free-flowing football. Baxter has tried starting both Manuel Onwu and Diego Mauricio together but even that hasn’t really solved the creativity issue. The onus will therefore again be on whoever starts out of the two and he’ll be expected to hold the ball up in the final third and link up with the midfielders. With Vinit Rai and Jerry also back from injury, doing this successfully should allow them to exploit the half spaces.


The threat of Cleiton Silva

The Brazilian has mostly operated as an inside forward down the right and has two goals and an assist to show for it. He was the only creative outlet in the initial few matches when the team was still settling down and seems to have earned his coach and teammates’ trust. His versatility is his strongest suit. With his quick feet and intelligent passing, he is going to be a handful for Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt, both of whom have struggled for form and consistency this season.

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