Odisha FC's Diego Mauricio prepared to take the fight to Central Coast Mariners | AFC Cup 2023-24

Odisha FC
Odisha FC's Diego Mauricio will be geared up to take on Central Coast Mariners. [OFC]

Odisha FC, who will take on Central Coast Mariners in the second leg of their AFC Cup Inter-Zone semifinal playoff at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday, will rely heavily upon the services of Diego Mauricio.

The Brazilian forward is ranked fifth in the list of top goal-scorers in the ISL this season and will be keen on translating this performance into the continental competition as well.

Speaking to the media ahead of the game, Mauricio stressed the fact that his team will challenge the mighty Mariners.

"The first leg against Central Coast Mariners was not good for us, but we are looking forward to this one. We have trained well and will be looking forward to do well. Whichever team does well, runs well and puts in the hard hards in this game will end up winning it," said Mauricio.
"The conversation is that there is some pressure, but it is good for us. We have to enjoy the game and make good decisions - that is the key. We need to have a positive mindset. We have a lot of good players in our team, and if everyone works hard, we can get a positive result. Believing in ourselves is what is most important. We might have a full stadium, and we have to do it for the fans," he added.

Odisha FC were beaten 0-4 by Central Coast Mariners in the first leg

Mauricio in training with Odisha FC this season. [OFC]
Mauricio in training with Odisha FC this season. [OFC]

Diego Mauricio, along with fellow striker Roy Krishna, has been one of the stars for Odisha FC this season, both in the ISL as well as the AFC Cup.

This dynamic attacking duo has freed the midfield and allowed the others in the team to operate with utmost freedom on the flanks.

The Kalinga Warriors, who were beaten by a whopping 0-4 scoreline in the first leg by the Central Coast Mariners at the Industree Group Stadium in New South Wales, will have to put up a dominating performance to avoid a repeat on Thursday.

Head coach Sergio Lobera will be itching to motivate his team to play out of their skins and torment their Australian visitors in the sultry conditions of Bhubaneswar in the high afternoon.

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