Mariehamn vs Odd

It is all set for the second leg between the Norwegian team Odd and their Scandinavian neighbors Mariehamn from Finland.

The first leg was played in Norway last week and it revealed major differences between these two teams. The first half was very boring to watch as Odd dominated the match completely with Mariehamn just trying to keep the clean sheet. Odd a huge opportunity in the opening minutes, but did not manage to get the early lead. Mariehamn responded immediately by lying extremely deep and almost set up a wall through the rest of the half. They ran a lot with Odd being in control as they passed the ball around in their search of space. Mariehamn got one big opportunity themselves with a counter attack that ended with a shot on goal, but the finishing was not good enough.

Odd started the second half as they did in the first one by setting a huge pace from kickoff. They continued to press their opponent’s defense and found some space after 62 minutes that gave them the needed faith. The tempo went down in the short period after the goal, but Odd soon got back on attacking from all sides. The host built up wave after wave and it was only one attacking team on the pitch from here and out. Mariehamn tried to get the tempo down and created a couple of small chances, but Odd got the second goal in the same period. The 2-0 goal made Odd clearly confident of getting the win and they should have scored a third one shortly after.

Mariehamn eventually got tired from all the running and consistent defending which gave Odd some enormous space to work in. It was never a doubt of who was the better team was, but Mariehamn defended well which made it very difficult for Odd to get through their defensive line and score goals. The win should have been bigger, but a 2-0 win gives Odd the perfect scenario before tonight’s second leg. Their regular midfielder Jone Samuelsen was not participating in the game in the first leg or against Valerenga, and will still miss out tonight. Mariehamn’s regular midfielder Robin Sid is doubtful.

Mariehamn has done well in their domestic league with 9-4-2 and 31 points from 15 games. They are sharing the 1st place with HJK Helsinki and only have a worse goal difference. With 16:8 on goal difference, they are a team that prioritizes the defensive organization and often aiming for narrow wins in order to get the job done. Odd is being quite similar team as they have the 2nd place in Tippeligaen in Norway. They have 9-3-2 and 18:9 on goal difference this season.

They played a tough game away from home against Valerenga (0-1) last weekend where they showed the defensive capabilities. They got a free chance on goal due to a poor clearance that they took care of perfectly, but it was their defensive organization that impressed once again.

The first leg makes the picture quite clear tonight as Mariehamn must come a lot more forward compared to their last performance. Odd has a great 2-0 lead with them and they also showed that they are the better team. That gives room for possible rotation on the lineup with another domestic game coming on Saturday. Both teams are strong defensively, but Odd has shown themselves as the stronger team. The scenario should give Odd much more space tonight as Mariehamn must go forward.

Odd cannot afford to be high on themselves after the first game and an away goal will be important to put a lot more pressure to the hosting team. I expect Odd to continue showing dominance in this leg as well and winning at least one of the halves here.

Bet: Odd to win either half @1.60 with Unibet
Result: 0-1 2nd half (won)
 * Odds as of post published time and are subject to change.
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