ISL: Chennaiyin, Odisha aim to steady ship after setbacks

Image Source: ANI

Panaji (Goa) [India], December 17 (ANI): Chennaiyin FC will look to bounce back from their heartbreak in the last game when they take on Odisha FC in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) here at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Saturday.

Chennaiyin saw their unbeaten record broken in the last game against Mumbai City. The Bozidar Bandovic-coached side are fifth in the points table with eight points from five games and a win on Saturday can take them to third place.

The side with the best defensive record in the league so far have struggled to find the back of the net and that is something Bandovic has to work on. Chennaiyin are creating a lot of shots but are facing struggles to put them in the back of the net. Odisha FC, on the other hand, have been efficient in maximizing the little they create. The presence of players like Aridai Cabrera, Javi Hernandez who possesses good shooting technique helps them.

Slavko Damjanovic has emerged as the defensive leader in Chennaiyin’s defensive setup under new coach Bandovic. The 29-year-old defender uses his 1.89m frame to his best advantage in aerial situations. The likes of Igor Angulo, Bartholomew Ogbeche and Roy Krishna found it difficult to come up against Damjanovic in a duel as the Serbian’s strength and defensive ability allowed him to contain them.

“We have created a lot of chances in the last two games. It is now only a matter of time we will score our goal. But, we also have to look at our defence. We need the balance. On the attacking front, I believe we will be more effective going forward. My belief in the players has only doubled. Our aim is clear, to win three points in each game,” said Bandovic, as per an ISL release

Odisha, on the other hand, are placed one rung above Chennaiyin at the fourth position. It has been a dream start to the season for them after finishing rock-bottom last term. But a heavy 0-4 defeat at the hands of Jamshedpur FC have laid bare their defensive woes.

The Kalinga Warriors conceded 44 goals in 20 Hero ISL games in 20-21 season finishing with the worst defensive record in the tournament. They have improved marginally under new coach Kiko Ramirez, but as seen against Jamshedpur, they still find it hard to cope against good attacking sides with their defence not holding their fort too well.

“After the defeat last time, the only thing I will tell my players is we have a new opportunity to get a win and change the scheme of things. Of course, we have to introspect on where we went wrong. We need to rectify those and implement that on the field,” Ramirez said.

For Odisha, Aridai has grown into an important player despite not starting in Odisha’s opening two games.

Aridai has scored three times already and his impressive performances in the first two games made him a guaranteed starter, and he has started all the club’s last three games. (ANI)

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