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ISL 2021-22: Focused Bagan take on rejuvenated Odisha

Fatorda (Goa), Jan 7 (IANS) ATK Mohun Bagan will aim to maintain their surge up in the points table when they take on rejuvenated Odisha FC in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here on Saturday.

Mohun Bagan haven't lost a game under Juan Ferrando and the Spaniard has steadied the ship after a string of poor performances that pushed them out of the top four. In their last outing, the Mariners were held to a 2-2 draw by Hyderabad FC but two wins before that ensured they stayed inside the top-four.

The goals have kept coming for Mohun Bagan but their porous defence is a concern and Ferrando will look to get his backline in order against a strong Odisha attacking line. Mohun Bagan have conceded 18 goals in their nine matches, keeping just one clean sheet. Amrinder Singh has looked off-colour, to say the least with his gaffe in the last game handing Bartholomew Ogbeche his ninth goal of the campaign.

Mohun Bagan will also be without the services of star playmaker Hugo Boumous who picked up his fourth yellow card in the last game, meaning he would have to sit out against Odisha. The Frenchman has been a crucial cog in their wheel, scoring five goals and providing three assists for the Kolkata side. He is currently the joint-highest goal-scorer for them. Mohun Bagan will also be without Carl McHugh who got concussed in the last game.

"In my point of view, I think for everybody the problem is when you have no chances. We have chances. Of course, we have (had) 20 chances. I think it is good for the squad. But in case you have no chances, this case is difficult," Ferrando said, taking confidence from their last match.

"We'll see. We have prepared one plan. We'll see what happens. We decided this plan to find the be"t lineup," said Ferrando on being asked if both Roy Krishna and David Williams can start together.

Odisha saw their captain Vinit Rai jump ship to Mumbai City FC on loan until the end of the season. Jerry Mawihmingthanga has been tasked to lead the side and the wide midfielder has been in red-hot form too. Jerry scored twice and provided one assi't in Odisha's win over Mumbai as they snapped a 4-match winless run.

"They (Mohun Bagan) are one of the biggest teams in ISL. So after the draw, they will be hungry for winning. Of course, it is good that a lot of teams get a chance to be in the top 4 also I have to understand the format of the competition. We have a match every 3-5 days. This makes it tough for every team. I think it's good for the competition," Head Coach Kiko Ramirez said, conscious of the opponents on Saturday.

Odisha are seventh in the table with 13 points from nine games and can push for a top-four place with a win.