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Odisha seek first win, NorthEast keen to bounce back (Preview Match 37)

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Goa, Dec 21 (IANS) With only a point in their kitty after six Indian Super League (ISL) games, Odisha FC will be desperate to turn their fortunes around when they face NorthEast United at the GMC Stadium here on Tuesday.

The Bhubaneswar-based side lies bottom of the table having suffered five defeats this season – the most in the league. They will face a stiff challenge from fourth-placed NorthEast, who will be aiming to bounce back after witnessing their unbeaten run end in their previous game.

Odisha will need to find form soon, having struggled in both attack and defence. They have shipped in nine goals, the second-worst tally in the league, and have a tendency of conceding first – seven of their goals conceded coming in the first half. In attack, Stuart Baxter’s men have scored the joint-lowest goals (3) and created the least number of chances (42).

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Odisha will need to ensure they don’t let the momentum slip again in the first half by conceding first. To do that, they will have to keep a tight leash on forwards Idrissa Sylla and Kwesi Appiah, who lead NorthEast’s scoring charts with two goals each.

“The NorthEast team has got quite a few players who are quick. They play back to front quickly and get the ball to their strikers, so we defend as a team. Whatever solutions we’re planning will be as a team, it won’t be based on an individual marking a man closely. It will be about giving each other support and making sure we shove them into the spaces where we can manage them,” Baxter said.

The Highlanders have similar concerns. Four of their six goals conceded have come in the first half while their attacking threat has begun to wear out. They have failed to score in their previous two games despite creating plenty of chances. NorthEast coach Gerard Nus stated his team will go on an all-out attack when they step on the pitch.

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“I agree (the defeat has made us hungrier to bounce back). It’s an opportunity for all of us to come together and stick together,” Nus said.

“We are going to be an offensive team tomorrow, we are going to go for the three points and prove it to everyone.”

–IANS

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