East Bengal FC will eye their first win at home this season after recording their best-ever ISL start after six matches as they take on a well-rested Odisha FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Friday.
Odisha are currently three points ahead of East Bengal FC with a game in hand. Odisha are sixth in the standings with three wins from five matches while East Bengal FC have two wins from six matches. The Kolkata giants are eighth among 11 teams.
Charis Kyriakou has played a vital role in the East Bengal midfield so far. The Cypriot defender-turned-midfielder is his side’s most successful passer this season, averaging 24 successful passes per match, and also has the most shots on target (3).
The morale in the hosts’ camp is high after they returned home with all three points and a clean sheet against Bengaluru FC last week. However, their defence will have to be at their best to secure points in the next game, as the Torch Bearers have faced the second-most shots (99) and second-most shots on target (27) this season.
A two-week break since their last fixture will have allowed Odisha FC some extra time to recover from their defeat against Hyderabad FC. Only a solitary goal decided the outcome of that match, even as the Juggernauts dominated possession and completed more passes than the defending champions in their own backyard, according to the official website.
No team in the ISL has scored more goals against East Bengal than Odisha FC (15). Keeping that in mind, head coach Josep Gombau would expect his attackers to be clinical in the final third. Diego Mauricio has started every game this season but has failed to score in the last four matches, and failed to get a shot on target in his last two ISL games.
Mauricio was taken off at half-time against Hyderabad FC and replaced with Pedro Martin. The Spanish striker could be in contention to start the game against East Bengal.
Odisha FC and East Bengal FC have kept just one clean sheet each this season. The two sides have met four times in the ISL. The Juggernauts have won thrice, while the Torch Bearers won one. In the four games played between these two sides, a staggering total of 28 goals have been scored.