Odisha FC vs. FC Goa: Match Preview

GOA:
It’s a new dawn for FC Goa as Derrick Pereira takes over the reins. The Indian football legend, who had been serving the club as its Technical Director since 2018 will have his task cut out against a formidable opponent in Odisha FC.

After a dismal start to the season (three losses in as many games), the Gaurs have looked to be back to their usual dominant self with 7 points from their last three. However, with the Juan Ferrando era coming to an abrupt end, it will now be on Derrick Pereira to lead the troops to a win on Friday night .

The task will be made tougher considering that Goa will again be without the services of their mercurial Spanish forward Jorge Ortiz.

The Gaffer says
Derrick Pereira weighed in on his appointment and the challenges ahead in the pre-match press conference.

“It was shocking as well as exciting to get the call (to take charge of the first team). Before this, I was taking care of the youth teams at FC Goa and involved with the day to day activities,” remarked Pereira.

“When I got this opportunity, there were a lot of thoughts in my head. Within me, I knew it was always a ‘yes’. But I asked for a day. I needed time to talk to my family.”

This, however, is not the first time that Derrick has been summoned to clean up a situation like the same. He had earlier taken over Churchill Brothers during the middle of the season during his time with the I-League outfit.

Then again during the 2019/20 Indian Super League season, the former Indian international came in to take charge of the Gaurs after the Club parted ways with Sergio Lobera.

“I have faced this before. I’m 100% sure the players will be professional. Such issues off the field and on the field come and go and you’ve got to overcome them,” opined the new FC Goa head coach.

“I spoke to some of the senior players and they know what they have to do. And I know we’ll overcome this situation as quickly as possible. We are trying to create an atmosphere to get back to our winning ways.”

The task ahead
Odisha, on the other hand, have stumbled to back to back defeats following a promising start that saw them grab 3 wins from their opening 4 games. Defeats in the last two games has seen Kiko Ramirez’s men drop to seventh in the table

The Juggernauts will be without the services of Hector Rodas. And Ramirez is sure to look to Spanish midfielder Javi Hernandez for inspiration in the middle of the pitch. Playing a much more attacking role this season, the former ATK Mohun Bagan man is Odisha’s topscorer with 4 goals to his name.

Friday night, thus promises to be a thriller as two strong sides – both with a penchant for playing the game with flair go head to head. Here are 10 things you need to know ahead of their clash:

FC Goa have never had a different result other than a win against Odisha FC the four times the sides have met. The Gaurs did the double each of the last two seasons over the Juggernauts.

The Gaurs will be without the services of Jorge Ortiz after the Spaniard serves the last game of his two-match suspension following his red-card against Bengaluru. The Spaniard has been a vital part of the offensive schemes for FC Goa since the beginning of last season. He currently leads the team in goal contributions (4), key passes (10)

This is only the third time the Gaurs have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their first 6 games of the season. The only other two seasons to have seen FC Goa suffer at the back were in the 2014 and 2017/18 seasons. In 2014, the drought came to an end in the 7th game against Mumbai City while during the 2017/18 season, the Gaurs had to wait till their 16th game for their first clean sheet.

Defending from set-pieces has been a problem for both sides. Whilst FC Goa have conceded 7 goals (54%) from these situations, Odisha FC are not doing much better with 6 goals (46%) conceded from set-pieces as well.

Odisha FC are the most non-reliant on using crosses for their attacks. They average 8 crosses per game, the lowest in the league. FC Goa, on the other hand, average 10 per game (6th most amongst teams).

9 points from their opening 6 games represents Odisha FC’s best start to the season in the short period of time they have been in the ISL. Their inaugural season in the ISL saw them muster 6 points from their opening 6 games whilst last season saw their start with only a single point to their name from the opening 6 fixtures.

Odisha are committing the least fouls amongst all 11 teams in the competition with 11.3 fouls called against them per match. FC Goa are in 6th spot with 13.2 fouls called against them. The Gaurs commit the most fouls in their own half at 7 per game.

During Derrick Pereira’s last stint in the FC Goa dugout at the fag end of the 2019/20 season, the former Indian international saw his side score 19 goals in 5 matches, averaging 3.8 goals per game.

No team attempts more dribbles per game than FC Goa. The Gaurs attempt 26 dribbles per game with a 58% success rate. Odisha, meanwhile, attempt 23 per game with 61% success rate. The league average is 22 per game with a 57% success.

FC Goa are at the bottom of the league when it comes to success with tackles. The Gaurs have been able to execute a successful tackle 48% of the time they go into one. Odisha, meanwhile top the charts in this regard, winning 62% of their tackles.

Iscea

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