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Punjab FC hope to leap ahead in the playoff race with a win against Odisha FC

Bhubaneshwar: Punjab FC (PFC) will face Odisha FC in a crucial encounter to leap ahead in the playoffs race tomorrow in Round 20 of the Indian Super League 2023-24 season which will be played here at the Kalinga Stadium. The match is scheduled to kick-off at 7:30 PM. Punjab FC with a win will go two points clear of Bengaluru FC who currently occupy the final playoff spot.

The Shers are unbeaten in the last three away matches, winning all of them and have the third best record of the league in the calendar year. PFC shared spoils with FC Goa in their last match in a six goal thriller at New Delhi before the international break while Odisha FC played out a goalless draw against Bengaluru FC on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of the game, PFC Head Coach Staikos Vergetis said, “The break was important not only for us but all the teams as we had some consecutive matches and it has allowed the players to have a proper rest. We have an important game coming up tomorrow against a very strong Odisha side who play very good effective football. They know when to attack and when to defend appropriately. We have improved a lot as a team and as a coach, I am lucky to have this bunch of players. We have prepared ourselves well for tomorrow’s match and we hope to get a positive result out of it.”

In the reverse fixture played in New Delhi, Roy Krishna’s goal proved to be the decider as The Juggernauts came away with all three points in a hard fought match.

The attacking triumvirate of Madih Talal, Luka Majcen and Wilmar Jordan Gil have turned the fortunes of the club since the league restarted after the AFC Asian Cup. Madih Talal in particular has been in terrific form throughout the season scoring four goals and assisting in another eight, which is the highest in the league. He has also created 44 chances, which is the highest in the league by some distance. The striking pair of Luka Majcen and Wilmar Jordan have scored seven and six goals each. The midfield has been successful in being the bridge between the defence and attack line with Ricky Shabong and Nikhil Prabhu putting in standout performances in both defence and attack. Dimitrios Chatziisaias and Suresh Meitei have formed a formidable defensive combination in the centre fizzing out opponent attacks.

PFC defender Khaimingthang Lhungdim during the pre – match press conference said, “Tomorrow’s match is very important for us and we are well prepared for the challenge. We will approach the match like a final and will fight till the end to get the important three points.”

Punjab FC are currently eighth on the table with 21 points from 19 matches while Odisha FC are third in the table with 36 points from 19 matches.

 

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