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Winless Odisha look to deny first clean sheet to FC Goa (Preview Match 25)

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Bambolim (Goa), Dec 11 (IANS) Odisha FC will be looking to bag their first win of the season in their fifth match when they face FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the GMC Stadium here on Saturday.

The Bhubaneshwar-based franchise lie at the bottom half of the table and are winless after four games while FC Goa, placed sixth, head into the contest on the back of a win.

Stuart Baxter’s side has struggled at both ends of the pitch so far. Upfront, their attacks have appeared blunt, failing to score in three out of their four matches so far. They are also yet to register a clean sheet this season and have not been able to start games strongly. They have conceded six goals thus far, of which five have come in the first-half of matches which is the most by any team this season.

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FC Goa striker Igor Angulo, joint-top scorer so far in the league, will hope to add to his tally against a leaky Odisha defence.

The problem for Baxter has also been watching his team being dominated by the opponents they have faced so far. And against an FC Goa side that has the highest average possession by any team this season (58 per cent), Baxter knows another big challenge lies ahead for his side.

“The striker (Angulo) has been scoring goals and that’s always a problem,” the Englishman said. “The rest of the team they have a set way of playing and they stick to it. It’s important (that) you don’t allow them to gain too much momentum. We have to be a constant threat and ought to be able to deal with them properly. They’re one of the better teams and in that way, they deserve our respect.”

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Meanwhile, Goa are also yet to manage a clean sheet this season. They have scored six goals but have also conceded as many as five in the four matches they have played thus far.

“When we are working in training, it’s important to control a few details in transitions and keep improving. We are working a lot,” said coach Juan Ferrando.

“I’m so happy about the defensive aspect because the team is good but sometimes, it’s necessary to (keep) the intensity in defense. We need to be more aggressive.”

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Goa beat beat Odisha in both their meetings last season.

–IANS

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