Odisha FC are set to face Jamshedpur FC in their maiden Indian Super League clash at the JRD TATA Sports Complex (Jamshedpur) on Tuesday.
Both the teams have a significant Spanish presence in their respective squads, including the two head coaches – Antonio Iriondo (Jamshedpur) and Josep Gombau (Odisha) and so one can expect some possession-based quick passing football. With just around 350kms separating Bhubaneswar (Odisha FC’s home base) and Jamshedpur, the tie will also be an initiation of a brand-new rivalry between the two East Indian teams.
Jamshedpur’s new Spanish coach Iriondo will have at his disposal an experienced squad. The talismanic Tiri will be leading the defensive line, with Memo acting as a midfield screen. The Spanish trio of Noe Acosta, Piti and Sergio Castel will be in charge of creating and scoring the goals. With Piti’s expertise with set pieces, expect this Jamshedpur unit to be a dangerous team from dead ball situations. In CK Vineeth and Subrata Paul, the team also possesses two very experienced options on either end of the pitch.
Having lost Michael Soosairaj, new signing Isaac Vanmalsawma will most likely provide the more direct option down the flanks. It will be interesting to see just how Antonio Iriondo shapes his team up for his first Hero ISL encounter.
Newcomers Odisha FC will be expected to play a fearless brand of football – a style associated with their head coach Josep Gombau. One of the major highlights of the squad is a very strong midfield, which features the likes of Xisco Hernandez, Martin Guedes, former Barcelona B midfielder Diawandou Diagne, the enigmatic Marcos Tebar and promising Indian youngster Vinit Rai.
With the massive frame of Aridane Santana up top, Odisha FC will be looking to stretch the game as much as possible and play in crosses inside the opposition box for the Spaniard to feed on. There will be no dearth of quality deliveries either with Xisco, Nandhakumar Sekar, Jerry Mawhmingthanga in the team. Attacking sidebacks like Narayan Das and Shubham Sarangi will also add to the threat with their constant overlapping runs.
Gombau will, however, have an important decision on his hands – whether to start with Francisco Dorronsoro in goal or to put out an extra foreign midfielder in his first XI. Considering Odisha’s other goalkeepers – Ankit Bhuyan and Arshdeep Singh – still haven’t made their Hero ISL debuts yet, its more likely that the Spaniard will opt for the former gameplan.