FC Goa look to maintain winning momentum against Odisha FC

Goa, February 5, 2023: Following recent wins against Kerala Blasters FC and East Bengal FC, FC Goa have a solid opportunity to move further up the league table as they prepare for their next assignment against Odisha FC. The match will be held at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday, with the kick-off slated for 7:30 pm IST.

While the Gaurs’ home record is impressive this season, having won six out of eight matches so far at their Fatorda Fortress, their numbers in away venues have been inconsistent to say the least. Carlos Pena’s boys last won an away fixture in Chennai in late October, and have since managed only two draws while losing four.

Come Monday, the Men in Orange will look to change all that and take all three points when they take on the Juggernauts. The fact that Josep Gombau’s boys are also their direct rivals for a spot in the impending playoffs, makes the clash all the more interesting.

The Gaffer Speaks

The above point was discussed in length by FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena, in the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“With the playoff race tightening, the day after tomorrow’s match is quite important. We need the win and all three points. It’s going to be a tough game for us, but the same applies to them as well, having not had many positive results of late. Meanwhile, our recent wins give us confidence,” he said.

The 38-year-old also spoke on the challenge of facing Odisha FC in their own backyard. “They’re quite strong at home, just like us. It is a tough task, indeed, but I believe that focusing on ourselves rather than thinking about things like these is the best way forward.

“We have new additions to the squad in Hernan (Santana) and Nikhil (Prabhu), they’re fit and raring to go, of course, and we will take a call on their availability for selection in the coming hours. Overall, we’re confident that we can return home with a positive result,” Pena concluded.

The Task Ahead

Currently in fifth place in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 standings with 26 points from 16 matches, a win against Odisha FC will help FC Goa replace Kerala Blasters in third place. That said, it won’t be for long because the Yellow Army and fourth-placed ATK Mohun Bagan will have a game in hand and could catch up by the end of the week.

Hence, it is important that the Gaurs win, because it will cement their position in the top-six in any case, which is the prerequisite for guaranteeing a playoff berth.

Both teams have several similarities, in terms of playing styles, formations and more. But when the two teams faced each other earlier this season at Fatorda, goals from Noah Sadaoui, Alvaro Vazquez and Brison Fernandes helped FC Goa win by a scoreline of 3-0.

Pena will look to draw inspiration from this performance as well, as they aim to do the double over Odisha on Monday.

Also ReadMFA Weekly round-up: KSA maintains League lead, Atlanta FC keeps up the chase

Also Read: Bengaluru FC beat ATK Mohun Bagan to reclaim playoffs spot

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