ISL 2023-24: Odisha FC’s Sergio Lobera and Mumbai City FC’s Des Buckingham ()FSDL
Sergio Lobera and some of his players will be facing their former mates as Odisha FC host Mumbai City FC in the India Super League.
Odisha FC head coach Sergio Lobera awaits the arrival of his former club Mumbai City FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on September 28, 2023. Lobera, who had propelled the Islanders to the historic Indian Super League (ISL) double in 2020/21, will lock horns with Mumbai for the first time since his return to India with the Juggernauts for this campaign.
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What’s at stake?
Odisha is the only team to have kept a clean sheet in the inaugural matchweek as they bounced back from a heavy defeat against the Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the AFC Cup to triumph over Chennaiyin FC by 2-0.
This is a clash between two coaches with the highest win-rate in the ISL history – with Mumbai’s Des Buckingham topping the charts with 58.13% in 43 matches and Lobera following him with 53.75% in 80 games.
Mumbai City FC
Securing early victories in away fixtures will set Mumbai up perfectly for the rest of the campaign when they return back to their fortress at the Mumbai Football Arena (MFA). The Islanders already beat NorthEast United in Guwahati in their opening fixture and a victory against a promising looking Odisha setup will be a huge morale booster for the defending ISL League Winners Shield holders.
Jerry Mawihmingthana (Odisha FC)
The 26-year-old demonstrated impeccable footwork and sharpshooting to bag Odisha’s opener against Chennaiyin FC last week. His goal-scoring instincts and footwork inside the box have arguably improved and his face off against Mumbai’s seasoned will be an exciting matchup on Friday.
Lalengmawia Ralte (Mumbai City FC)
Lobera beats his opponents by outclassing them at the centre of the park. Lalengmawia Ralte capped off a fine performance against the Highlanders – pulling off 46 passes at a 95% success rate. Buckingham will rely on him to set the tempo of the game from heart of the midfield against Odisha.
Played – 18
Mumbai City FC – 10
Odisha FC – 5
Draws – 3
Mumbai City scored a combined six goals and conceded only twice in their victories in both their matches against Odisha FC last season.
Sergio Lobera was at the helm of Mumbai City FC when they did the historic ISL double – the League Shield and the Cup
“Obviously, we have started the season well against Chennai – very good team. We need to put our focus in the next game against a very good, strong team. We are excited about this. This is the second game at home in front of our supporters. It’s a special game for me because I was there, I was working at Mumbai City – it was an amazing experience for me, one of the best experience of my career working with the City Football Group and winning everything. Obviously I have very good memories of this club. Tomorrow, it’s a special game for me because I want to win with Odisha. We are working very hard to prepare in the best way possible for this game and we are excited about this big challenge,” Lobera reflected on locking horns with the Islanders.
“We have just come on the back off the first game of the ISL against a very good NorthEast team. It’s about continuing on the good work that we have done from the start of the pre-season building up from last year. It’s a game that we are looking forward to against a very good and tough Odisha team. We have done as much as we can to be prepared for it,” Mumbai’s Buckingham outlined his team’s preparation ahead of the match.