When Odisha FC takes on Northeast United FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Goa on Friday, a lot will be at stake for both sides in the Indian Super League (ISL 2021-22).
Kiko Ramires’ boys come into the match wounded after a 1-2 loss to Kerala Blasters, its first loss this season. Aridai Cabrera is expected to lead the team’s attack, as the coach confirmed Jonathas is ruled out with an injury.
“He (Jonathas) will not be available for this game and we will have to wait and see when he will join the team,” he told the press.
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Odisha, having scored nine goals in its first two games, will look to return to winning ways with Javier Hernandez weaving his magic in the midfield, while Aridai handles the attack – both of whom are joint second-highest goal scorers in the league so far, with three goals each.
Northeast United, on the other hand, will arrive with a ray of optimism after beating FC Goa 2-1 in its last game. The victory was the Highlanders’ first of the season. While the team will miss its midfield talisman Federico Gallego, Khalid Jamil looks to have found a way around it, managing the win without him the last time.
The NEUFC coach clarified that the entire squad will be available for selection, except Gallego. “They (Odisha FC) have started well, they are a good team and we have to have to be alert and not take this match lightly. We have to play our natural game,” Khalid told the press on Thursday.
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A win here for Northeast United can take it, not just over Odisha on the table, but also into the top four if it prevails with a margin of more than two goals. A victory for Odisha will propel it right on top of the table level on points with defending champion Mumbai City FC.