ISL 2020-21: Hit by controversy, bottom-placed Odisha FC aim to get campaign back on track against ATK Mohun Bagan


Bambolim: Their coach sacked after an unsavoury comment, bottom-placed Odisha FC will look to regroup and get their campaign back on track when they take on ATK Mohun Bagan in a must-win Indian Super League game on Saturday.

Rooted at the bottom of the table after 14 games with just eight points, Odisha have struggled all season. They have won just one match besides conceding 21 goals, which is the second-worst record in the league.

Their attackers haven’t been clinical enough. Barring own goals, Odisha have netted just 11 — the joint-least by a team.

On top of it, their head coach Stuart Baxter was booted out for making comment on rape to criticise a refereeing decision after the team’s loss to Jamshedpur FC on Monday.

There will be additional pressure on the team as it looks to snap a winless run of five games under the guidance of Gerald Peyton, who took the charge on an interim basis.

“In the last six games, we’re going to show a positive attitude, a determination to win as many games as possible and take the club forward,” said Peyton.

“If you look at nearly all the games we’ve played, we’ve been a fraction away (from getting results). It’s been one goal in every game and finding that combination to go and win games, I”m sure we are going to find that,” Peyton added.

Club captain Steven Taylor will remain suspended for the game as Odisha will be desperate for a turnaround, while second-placed Bagan will look to close in the gap on leaders Mumbai City FC.

The last time the two teams met earlier this season, a goal from Roy Krishna proved to be the difference despite Odisha carving out multiple opportunities and threatening Bagan.

ATKMB coach Antonio Lopez Habas is aware Odisha will be even hungrier this time, as they prepare for life without Baxter.

“We have to play against Odisha the same way we play against Mumbai,” said Habas.

“They are in a special situation because the coach is out. Maybe when the team changes or the coach changes, the motivation increases,” he added.

The Mariners will be without midfielder Carl McHugh (suspended) and new-signing Lenny Rodrigues, having joined from FC Goa, could be in line to make his debut.

Times2 Desk
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