Odisha and Kerala Blasters will lock horns in the final fixture of matchday 3 of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season. The match will be played at Bhubaneshwar’s Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.
Both teams have had the same journeys so far in this competition. Odisha started their season with a 3-2 victory over Jamshedpur, but could not capitalize on the momentum as they lost 0-2 against Mumbai City in their last outing.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, started their season with a stunning 3-1 victory over East Bengal. In their second match, they were up against another Kolkata-based team, ATK Mohun Bagan, but this time around, they suffered a 5-2 defeat.
Before coming to this competition, Odisha featured in the Durand Cup 2022, where they made it to the quarter-finals before losing out to Bengaluru. In the new ISL season, the Kalinga Warriors had a fantastic start to their campaign.
They overcame a two-goal deficit to beat Jamshedpur 3-2 in their first match, courtesy of a Diego Mauricio brace and an Isaac Vanmalsawma strike. However, in their last game, a Shubham Sarangi own goal and a Bipin Singh strike handed Josep Gambau’s team a 0-2 defeat against Mumbai City.
As for the Kerala Blasters, they too made it to the quarter-finals of the Durand Cup. Before eventually bowing out of the competition. Ivan Vukomanovic’s men won 3-1 against East Bengal in their 2022-23 ISL season opener. Thanks to two fantastic goals from Ivan Kalyuzhnyi and an Adrian Luna thunderbolt.
Kalyuzhnyi was on the scoresheet once again in the last match against ATK Mohun Bagan. And so was the young attacker, Rahul KP. However, those goals were not enough to prevent a drubbing, as the Mariners won that game 5-2.
The head-to-head records are slightly inclined in favor of the Tuskers, as out of the six meetings between these two teams, they won two matches while the Kalinga Warriors secured only one victory. The other three matches ended in stalemates.
The last meeting, which was back in January this year, ended 2-0 in favor of Vukomanovic’s side. Full-back Nishu Kumar scored the opening goal in the 28th minute. Before another full-back, Harmanjot Khabra increased his team’s advantage only 12 minutes later.
You can also read: Kerala Blasters vs. Mumbai City: Preview and Prediction
Given that his team did not look very promising against the Islanders. Gambau could make a few tweaks to his starting XI. Sarangi, the right-back who scored an own goal and was also totally off-color, could be replaced by Denechandra Meitei.
Osama Malik could move to his usual midfield position, replacing Saul Crespo. While Narender Gahlot could take up the position of a center-back to partner Carlos Delgado. This will open up an overseas slot, allowing the Spanish tactician to replace Jerry Mawihmingthanga with Victor Rodriguez. While Raynier Fernandes could make way for Thoiba Singh.
Vukomanovic could also opt to change his starting XI, as his team also looked pretty ordinary in their last fixture. Khabra had a bad day at the office and Nishu ultimately substituted him. And in this match, we could see the latter getting a start.
Besides that, Samad also could not have any influence on the game. And instead, Kerala Blasters looked better following the inclusion of Rahul. The youngster could replace Samad in the starting XI for this match.
Odisha (4-3-3): Amrinder Singh; Denechandra Meitei, Carlos Delgado, Narender Gehlot, Sahil Panwar; Thoiba Singh, Osama Malik, Isaac Vanmalsawma; Victor Rodriguez, Diego Mauricio, Nandhakumar Sekar.
Kerala Blasters (4-3-3): Prabhsukhan Gill; Nishu Kumar, Marko Leskovic, Ruivah Hormipam, Jessel Carneiro; Rahul KP, Jeakson Singh, Puitea, Adrian Luna; Ivan Kalyuzhnyi, Dimitrios Diamantakos.
While both teams might have had similar starts, Kerala Blasters hold the upper hand. In terms of head-to-head records, they also look a slightly better side on paper. Hence, we have predicted the Tuskers to secure all three points in this game.