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ISL 2020-21 Odisha FC Team Review: Season to Forget But One to Look Back On

Odisha FC finished last in the 11-team Indian Super League with their second of two wins coming in their last outing. On the eve of that match, against SC East Bengal, Odisha FC had lost two head coaches and no Indian goal scorer. They avoided defeat, which would have meant the worst-ever ISL campaign but still ended up with an unwanted record – the worst defence in the league’s history.

Odisha FC conceded 5 on the night to take their tally to 44, the most ever, ‘bettering’ Hyderabad FC’s effort of 39 the previous year. The game also saw the likes of S Lalhrezuala, Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Indian with most assists – 5) and Paul Ramfangzauva, with the latter two netting braces, to become the first and only Indian goal scorers for Odisha FC. Even though Odisha score the 7th-most goals in the league this season, 12 of the 25 came from talismanic forward Diego Mauricio.

ISL 2020-21 FULL COVERAGE |  ISL 2020-21 SCHEDULE  | ISL 2020-21 POINTS TABLE

Odisha FC, in the course of the season, decided to terminate the contract of head coach Stuart Baxter and Gerald Peyton, who replaced him, also leaving due to personal reasons, as they played their last two games under interim coach Steven Dias.

ISL 2020-21 Record

Played: 20; Won: 2; Drawn: 6; Lost: 12; Points: 12; Standing: 11th

High point

Odisha FC got their first win of the season in their 8th outing, against fellow-strugglers Kerala Blasters and looked like turning their season around with a commanding 4-2 win. The emergence of Mauricio as a bankable star, who would supply the goals meant that Odisha might look to build on the performance but a leaky defence did no do them any favours.

Low point

Inexperience in key areas of the field, led to Odisha losing possession and getting hit on counter-attacks by stronger opponents. Luck too played a part as a few bad calls from the officials as well as leaders in the team was a telling sign that a young team battled hard to play in a desired ‘system’ from multiple coaches. Marcelinho’s troubled stay at the club and Manuel Onwu’s lack of real goal contributions hurt the team.

Most Valuable Player

Diego Mauricio – The Brazilian forward scored 12 goals, almost half of Odisha’s tally for the season. Mauricio scored all kinds of goals, from stunners to dancing past defenders and chipped in with two assists as well.

Major disappointment

Steven Taylor – Club captain for the season was brought in as the leader at the back but his slowness on counter-attacks and his partnerships with Jacob Tratt and Gaurav Bora in the central areas never really clicked. Commanding a young back-line with also a rather inexperienced keeper, Taylor lacked leadership.

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Season Verdict

After a rather disappointing season were all the other teams in the league were better that them in almost every department. Lack of Indian goal-scorers and under-par performances from key foreign stars saw Odisha finish the campaign rooted to the bottom. The thing about that would be the only place from here, would be up, or at least, that’s what the Juggernauts faithful would hope for.

Statistics

Highest goal scorer: Diego Mauricio – 12

No of clean sheets: Arshdeep Singh – 1

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