Both outfits are on the verge of creating history despite having contrasting ambitions
Hyderabad FC’s next Indian Super League (ISL) 2020/21 assignment sees them face table-toppers ATK Mohun Bagan. Both clubs are fighting to achieve their respective ambitions and will look at the fixture as the best opportunity to do so.
While Manolo Marquez will hope to upset the league leaders and further their playoff qualification hopes, Antonio Habas will look to cement top spot, thereby qualifying for the AFC Champions League group stage.
With huge stakes on the line, the game will definitely be packed with a lot of entertainment.
Hyderabad FC are involved in one of the tightest races for the playoffs in recent history. They are tied with FC Goa and NorthEast United on 27 points each and cannot afford to drop points at this juncture. A win against ATK Mohun Bagan would put them in the driving seat.
Their last game of the season against the Gaurs would be a decider, but the Nizams will hope to go into that fixture with some room for error. This makes the upcoming game a must-win, even though they face a tough opponent.
ATK Mohun Bagan have a great chance to secure the top spot and be termed after chasers Mumbai City FC dropped points against Jamshedpur FC and Bengaluru FC. The Mariners are now five points ahead, with two games left to play.
Three points against Hyderabad FC will make them winners of the league phase and award them a direct qualification to the AFC Champions League.
Hyderabad FC will have to contend without Asish Rai, who seemed to have hurt his knee in the last game. One can expect a similar starting XI to step out from the last fixture against Kerala Blasters, with Nikhil Poojary the sole replacement.
ATK Mohun Bagan will also have the luxury to choose from a full strength squad. If they find themselves in a comfortable position, youngsters like Komal Thatal should get a look in.
Hyderabad FC: Kaattimani; Poojary, Onaindia, Chinglensena, Mishra; Chianese, Victor, Sharma, Narzary; Santana, Sandaza.
ATK Mohun Bagan: Bhattacharya; Kotal, Tiri, Jhingan; M.Singh, Rodrigues, McHugh, Bose; Marcelinho, Williams, Krishna
The outfits have met once before, which was earlier in the season. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. The former entity ATK had faced Hyderabad FC last season twice, winning one in dominant fashion and drawing the other game.
Man to Watch
Aridane Santana (Hyderabad FC)
Hyderabad FC will rely on their target man Aridane Santana for goals. The forward is the team’s top scorer with nine strikes to his name. The Spaniard was also adjudged Hero of the Match for his performance against Kerala Blasters.
The forward showed his aerial prowess after scoring with a composed header from a free-kick and also setup his side’s fourth goal against the Yellow Army. His clash with the physically adept center-backs of the Mariners will be an interesting battle.
Roy Krishna (ATK Mohun Bagan)
The most obvious and lethal source of threat from the opposite camp will come from Roy Krishna. The striker is the leading goalscorer in the competition with 14 strikes and will look to add to the tally.
He has often carried the team, but the inclusion of Marcelinho along with David Williams has helped Krishna to be more adventurous in making runs behind the defenders. It will be a challenge for the HFC backline to contain him.
Did You Know?
- Hyderabad FC have never qualified for the ISL playoffs.
- ATKMB have kept the most number of clean-sheets (10) in the competition after 18 games.
- With 257 crosses, HFC are the third highest in terms of crosses made in the league.
The match between Hyderabad FC and ATKMB is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.