ISL 2024-24: Mohun Bagan SG bank on home advantage against Odisha FC semifinal second leg

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ISL 2024-24: Mohun Bagan SG bank on home advantage against Odisha FC semifinal second leg
Kolkata: After a thrilling first leg that saw Odisha FC secure a narrow 2-1 victory, eyes are now focussed on the second leg of the semifinal clash between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. The stakes are high as both teams battle it out for a spot in the final of ISL 2023-24, though Odisha has the edge because of their victory in the first leg at Bhubaneswar.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant will be looking to capitalise on their home advantage as they aim to overturn the deficit and book their place in the final. The Mariners showed glimpses of their quality in the first leg, with Manvir Singh’s stunning strike providing them with an early lead. They will be banking on their attacking prowess and the support of their passionate fans to stage a comeback.

On the other hand, Odisha FC will be buoyed by their performance in the first leg, where they showcased resilience and determination to secure victory. With players like Carlos Delgado and Roy Krishna in their ranks, Odisha FC poses a significant threat going forward. They will be aiming to maintain their momentum and produce another strong performance to seal their spot in the final.

Odisha FC enter this crucial second leg with confidence, having secured their first-ever ISL victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the first leg. Their unbeaten record at the Kalinga Stadium this season underscores their strength at home. Despite a slight blip towards the end of the season, Odisha FC regained momentum with consecutive wins in their last two matches. They will aim to carry this positive momentum into the upcoming fixture.

In contrast, Mohun Bagan Super Giant are fuelled by the prospect of achieving a rare ISL double after already clinching the league title. The appointment of Antonio Lopez Habas as head coach mid-season proved to be a masterstroke, propelling the team to an unstoppable run and already being crowned the Champions. However, they faced a setback in the first leg against Odisha FC and will be eager to bounce back in front of their home crowd.

Habas will want to fix some gaps in his defensive line in this match. The Mariners have conceded multiple goals in both of their last two playoff games — 1-2 vs Odisha FC on April 23 & 2-2 vs Bengaluru FC on March 18.

If they do so again on Saturday, this will mark their outright longest such streak in this stage of the competition. They will want to go back to their strengths to find a place in the final.

The Mariners thrive in overloading the box with precise final-third deliveries thanks to their sharp wingers and clinical strikers. They have scored 42 goals from inside the box in the current campaign and they will hence test the Juggernauts incredibly from close spaces.

When they get going, there are few ways to stop the Mohun Bagan Super Giant, given that the team has netted at least thrice or more in nine matches so far in this campaign. This is the most by any team this season and also gives the Juggernauts a cause of concern before the second leg.

In contrast, Odisha FC are winless in their last three meetings with the Mariners at the Salt Lake Stadium. They have won only once in their six visits to this stadium.

Their recent away record has been worrying too, having been winless in their last four matches on the road and losing twice in a row in their previous couple of encounters.

Intriguingly, they have shown a tendency of winning grip over the proceedings from precarious positions in recent times, given that they have won six games from a losing position in ISL 2023-24, the most recent one of them being the first leg of the semi-final against Mohun Bagan Super Giant.

Since the start of 2024, no team has been involved in more sequences of 10+ open play passes in the ISL than Odisha FC (150), showing how seamlessly they have evolved into Lobera’s ideas. Will they be able to march into the summit clash with another professional performance this time around?

Overall in 10 matches played between these two teams, Mohun Bagan Super Giant have won four while Odisha could win only 1 as five games ended in draws.


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