Champion Head Coaches mark return to ISL

ISL Media Release

Bhubaneshwar, September 22nd 2023: Odisha FC will host Chennaiyin FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on September 23, Saturday, as two former Indian Super League (ISL)-winning head coaches Sergio Lobera and Owen Coyle return at the helm of their new teams for the 10th season of the competition.

What’s at stake?

Odisha FC

The Juggernauts stare at a potentially exciting season with Lobera having brought along some of his trusted lieutenants in Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Amey Ranawade, and Cy Goddard to Odisha FC. A strong start could help them get some positive momentum under their belt.

Chennaiyin FC

Coyle bagged the ISL League Winners Shield with Jamshedpur FC in 2021/22 and hence he returns to Chennaiyin FC amidst rousing expectations to repeat similar heroics. His teams average 2.4 goals per game against Odisha FC in the ISL and the tactician will be hoping to set a similar tone right from offset this year.

Key Players

Diego Mauricio (Odisha FC)

The Brazilian forward was the joint-highest goal-scorer in the ISL with 12 strikes last season. He netted once in every 128 minutes, which was the fastest such rate amongst players who played a minimum of 1000 minutes in ISL 2022/23. Mauricio will be eyeing enthralling the home ground with his dynamic playmaking skills against Chennaiyin FC.

Rafael Crivellaro (Chennaiyin FC)

Chennai’s frontline will be strengthened by the comeback of Rafael Crivellaro, who is one short of becoming the leading assist maker in the team’s history. He is currently tied with Anirudh Thapa with nine of those and the 34-year-old will have major responsibilities on his shoulders spearheading his side’s attacking endeavours in Bhubaneswar.


Played – 18

Odisha FC – 7

Chennaiyin FC – 3

Draws – 8

Trivia: Chennaiyin FC has never won a game in their seven away trips to Odisha FC. The Marina Machans have only won against them at neutral venues (both in 2021) since 2016.

Team Talk

“We are very excited. We are going to start our new season. We are ready. I think this will be the most competitive ISL season that I have experienced. This is my fifth year working in ISL. There are very good teams. We are going to play very strong teams but we are excited. We accept the challenge. The first game against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the AFC Cup was difficult but we need to continuously work, analyse the games as professionals. For me as a coach, in the first half we did many good things, playing XI vs XI, we compete well against very good teams but now it’s a new chapter. We are starting a new season – the first game at home in front of our supporters against a good team and we are excited about this,” Odisha coach Lobera spoke about the upcoming season and their loss against the Mariners in the AFC Cup on Tuesday.

“I think every team in the country and everyone in our camp is excited to start the new season. We obviously have a tough game against Odisha. They are a very good club. But yeah, we are looking forward to getting there. We saw the game last night and the excitement in the Kerala-Bengaluru game; so of course, we are excited and looking forward to giving our best foot forward,” Chennaiyin head coach Coyle expressed excitement at the commencement of the coming campaign.


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