After holding defending champions Bengaluru FC to a draw in their own backyard, NorthEast United FC play their first home match of the season on Saturday against newcomers Odisha FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
Odisha are coming on the back of a defeat against Jamshedpur FC, a game they should have won. However, they will surely take positives from that performance and hope for a win against NorthEast. Posing a big threat to their aspirations will be Asamoah Gyan, NorthEast’s marquee signing for the season.
The Bridge interacted with Kunal, an ardent Odisha FC fan and a member of the official fan club The Juggernauts, who laid down his views on the first match defeat, NorthEast United and stopping Asamoah Gyan.
Q> After a tough loss to start the season, just how important is it for your team to bounce back today?
A game where our team was the better one on the field but still we lost being unlucky and owing to a stray individual mistake, it was a tough loss to digest. It is really important for us to get our first win that will help the team gain confidence and move ahead with more positivity.
Q> Talking about the first game, were you happy with the performance? Or did you feel your team, maybe certain players or the coach could do more?
Overall, we are very happy with the performance. The coach played Shubham Sarangi, our local lad at right back position and he did exceptionally well. Our pacy winger Jerry was phenomenal with his runs and we were delighted to see our number 9 Santana be the first ever to score for Odisha FC in ISL.
Q> Coming to NorthEast game, what kind of a challenge do you expect on Saturday?
It’s NorthEast’s first home match and we are expecting our team to play in a packed stadium. Some of us will be travelling to Guwahati to support our team, we expect challenge in the form of NEUFC’s striking capabilities this year. We hope the gaffer will make any changes in our backline for the game if he sees fit.
Q> Just how big a threat is Asamoah Gyan?
Well, he’s a threat yes, a proven legend of the game. But, we are confident that there is nothing that our super goalie Dorronsoro along with our defensive unit led by his Spanish compatriot Delgado cannot defend. He will have a tough time today we reckon.
Q> Lastly, how have the people of Odisha taken to the new club? Especially after the first match…
People here are very excited and looking forward to the first home game. Come 24th November and we will see the magnificent Kalinga Stadium buzzing with fans. We, the Juggernauts organised a screening in Bhubaneshwar where we had close to 100 fans cheering for their team. For today’s game, we have two screenings, one in BBSR and another in Cuttack.