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ISL: Odisha, Chennaiyin look to bridge gap with top-four

ISL: Odisha, Chennaiyin look to bridge gap with top-fourEli Sabia’s return is expected to boost Chennaiyin FC’s chances against Odisha FC in their Hero ISL clash
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Odisha FC are all set to take on Chennaiyin FC in what is a crucial Indian Super League (ISL) encounter for both sides at the Kalinga Stadium here on...

Bhubaneswar : Odisha FC are all set to take on Chennaiyin FC in what is a crucial Indian Super League (ISL) encounter for both sides at the Kalinga Stadium here on Monday.

A win against Chennaiyin FC can take Odisha to within a point of fourth-placed Mumbai City FC. And with the league entering a decisive phase, Josep Gombau's side cannot afford a slip-up.

Chennaiyin FC are also at a stage where anything other than three points could render the gap between them and the top four clubs too much to cut down.

They are currently eighth on the table with nine points but a win will see them draw level with Odisha who are sixth.

For all the emphasis on the possession-based philosophy that Gombau advocates, results have been a mixed bag for his team.

However, they are coming off a 2-1 win over Jamshedpur and will look to continue their form.

But Gombau must fix his side's vulnerability on set-pieces. Odisha have scored the joint lowest amount of goals from set-pieces this season so far (2).

A more troublesome stat for the coach is on the defensive. Out of the 15 goals they have conceded, seven of them have come from set-pieces (most by any team). The likes of Carlos Delgado have to marshall the backline better.

Odisha have also had trouble closing out games. They generally tend to perform better in the first half before running out of steam in the second.

Of the 13 goals they have scored, only five have come in the second half of games and 10 out of the 15 goals they have shipped have been in the second half.

The Odisha think-tank must figure out the reason behind this trend and find a remedy soon enough.

"We have created a lot of chances, creating crosses. Of course, we have to score more goals. Going forward we have to be confident. Defensively we have to improve.

Under coach Josep Gombau we are trying to improve on our loopholes. Next match we will go for a win," said Jacobo Varela, Odisha FC's assistant coach.

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