The crucial game could be won and lost by individual brilliance.
FC Goa and Hyderabad FC will face each other in their final match of the Indian Super League 2020-21 league phase which will decide who goes into the playoffs. The stakes cannot be higher ahead of the game.
With so much on the line, both outfits will go all-out in order to achieve qualification. The focus will be on individual battles that would sway the momentum of the game in either team’s favour.
These three key battles will definitely play a crucial part in deciding who comes out on top:
3. Halicharan Narzary Vs Seriton Fernandes
The battle on the wings between Hyderabad winger Halicharan Narzary and FC Goa full-back Seriton Fernandes will be closely watched by everyone. Both the Indian players have consistently performed for their respective teams over the course of the season and have made a strong case for a national team call-up.
Former Goa player Narzary was the pick of the players in HFC’s last match, putting in dangerous crosses from the left flank. Seriton will have the tough task to cover for his darting runs in the channels. The full-back will need to track back expertly as well during transitions, as he likes to go forward and join the attack.
2. Odei Onaindia Vs Igor Angulo
Odei Onaindia will have his hands full trying to contain the league’s second-most lethal scorer Igor Angulo. The Spaniard has scored 13 goals in his debut season in the ISL and will be a constant threat for the Nizams. If left unchecked, he could single-handedly dash HFC’s hopes.
Without Chinglansena in defence, a large share of the responsibility will be on Onaindia to mark the forward. The 31-year-old will need to be proactive in monitoring his fellow countrymen’s movement in and around the penalty area. Angulo is an expert finisher, therefore he should not be afforded any time or space on the ball.
1. Joel Chianese Vs Edu Bedia
Another vital contest will be the battle in the midfield between Hyderabad’s Joel Chianese and Goa’s Edu Bedia. A large bulk of the creative flow will be the responsibility of Chianese in Hyderabad’s ranks. The attacking midfielder has a free role behind the target man, where he can contest the second-balls and activate the wingers with through balls down the wings.
Edu Bedia, skipper of the Gaurs, will look to limit Chianese’s influence on the match. The defensive midfielder must stay close to the Australian and use his physicality to dominate the duels. Moreover, Bedia leads the competition with most number of passes in the league at 1280. Therefore, Chianese might need to do some defensive work as well. Whoever comes out on top in the middle of the park will put his team in the driving position to win the game.