Odisha and Goa look to climb the ladder

Ramirez will hope his defence concedes fewer goals, Pereira will want to begin his journey with a win

Odisha FC has blown hot and cold this season. It opened its campaign with two impressive wins, scoring nine goals in the process.

It had defeated Bengaluru 3-1 and East Bengal 6-4, but has also been at the receiving end in a goal feast, going down 0-4 to Jamshedpur. That was followed by a 1-2 loss to Chennaiyin in its last match.

So Odisha, placed seventh in the table, will be desperate to recapture its early-season form when it takes on FC Goa — placed eighth — at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco, on Friday.

Big changes

Goa is unbeaten for the last three matches, but it has been in the headlines for a different reason.

Coach Juan Ferrando stepped down and joined ATK Mohun Bagan, replacing Antonio Habbas. The Goan management, in the meanwhile, appointed Derrick Pereira as the new coach.

Goa’s captain Edu Bedia admitted he had been upset by the situation, but expressed hopes about the future. “I know Derrick and he can help us a lot,” he said. “This would be the start of a new journey for us (with the match against Odisha).”

The new coach said the job came unexpectedly. “I need some time and I am putting my thoughts into place,” Pereira said.

His counterpart, Kiko Ramirez, expressed concerns about his team’s defence conceding too many goals. “Having a lot of goals in a match may be good for the show and the people watching the game, but not for the coach,” said the Odisha coach.

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