Odisha FC vs North East United FC: 5 Things to expect from the ISL match
Odisha will be looking to get back to their winning ways while North East prepares for a strong comeback after a dismal start.
Odisha FC will be facing North East United on matchday five of Indian Super League 2021-2022. Both team's ISL campaigns so far are in sharp contrast as Odisha FC were undefeated till their last match against Kerala while Northeast registered their first victory of the season in their last match against the Gaurs, but the Friday night clash will be the furthest thing from a cakewalk for the Juggernauts.
Odisha's defence problem
Odisha's defence might look a little out of shape against the highlanders. After their leader on the back, Victor Rodas suffered a knock and had to go off the field in their last game against Kerala. Victor has been an asset to the team. He is solid in the centre and a constant threat from the set pieces.
Khalid Jamil had indicated that Deshorn Brown might return on the pitch full time against Odisha in the post-match press conference of matchday 4, if Rodas's injury is serious, Kiko Ramirez might have to fill the gap left by Victor Rodas by Liridon Krasniqi who had run into all sorts of troubles in his brief appearance against Kerala.
A possible comeback for Odisha
The last match against Kerala was a match to forget for the Kalinga Warriors. Kerala's relentless attack proved to be too much for the Kiko Ramirez brigade. Odisha midfielder Krasniqi is under AIFF scrutiny for indecent behaviour, thus the Juggernauts will be desperately looking for a decent result against the Khalid Jameel brigade who didn't have the best of starts to this season.
Kiko Ramirez will try to exploit the highlander's defence which is not the deepest of this campaign and their marquee defender Santana was struggling in the last minutes of their match against FC Goa. With the likes of Javi Hernandez, Aridai and the young but talented Nikhil Raj Kumar, Odisha will look for gaps in the Northeast defence.
Northeast's attacking football might again cost Odisha
Kerala had shown how to disarm Odisha's build-up play in their last victory. Northeast is a very attack-minded team so they might follow Kerala's suit and go for an all-out attack from the first minute and disrupt their usual rhythm of play. This will be even harder for Odisha to counter this time around because they will be missing Victor Rodas from the start. Northeast will be looking to capitalize on that and punish the Juggernauts.
Redemption for Khalid Jamil
Khalid Jamil started this season as the only Indian head coach in the Indian Super League. He was successful with North East last season when the highlanders finished 3rd in the table, their personal best.
But this season hasn't gone as planned. The injuries of the marquee players upfront have cost the highlanders dearly. The last win against Goa has been a confidence booster for the Northeast dressing room and they will look for a win against Kiko Ramirez's momentarily rattled Odisha side.
Khassa Camara vs J.Hernandez
Khassa Camara might have scored his first this season as a late winner against FC Goa, but his contribution in the attack of NEUFC has been impressive. Since Deshorn Brown's injury, Camara has risen to the occasion and shown his worth. His contributions in the Chennaiyin and Goa matches were crucial where the highlanders picked up a point and three respectively.
Meanwhile, the former ATKMB player Javi Hernadez has led the Odisha attack with 3 goals and 2 assists in his 3 games so far, Aridai's Pace and Javi Hernandez's precision can prove to be a lot for the North East defence. It will be interesting to see which match winner proves his worth in this high voltage fixture.
Probable Playing 11
Odisha FC: K.Singh (GK), Rodas, Lalruatthara, Mongil, Antonay, Javi-Hernandez, Rai, Vanmalsawma, Vanlalruatfela, Jonathas, Cabrera.
Northeast United FC: Roy (GK), Lakra, Shareef-Thankgalakath, Flottmann, T-Singh, Santana, Camara, Suhair, Gogoi, Rochharzela, Coureur.
The match will be telecasted live on Star Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar and JioTV from 7:30 pm IST onwards.