While the Nizams are on a five-game unbeaten run the Blues are winless in their last seven matches.
Playoffs aspirants Hyderabad FC take on misfiring giants Bengaluru FC in their 14th Indian Super League (ISL) game of the season on Thursday. The Nizams sit in fourth position with 18 points, whereas their opponents are in seventh place, four points adrift of the top four spots. It goes without saying that Hyderabad would be looking to close the gap with FC Goa in third, while Bengaluru would like to get their stuttering season back on track.
The Manolo Marquez-led side have stunned football fans, pundits and media so far with their brave counter-attacking style of play. Young domestic stars like Liston Colaco, Mohammed Yasir, Hitesh Sharma, Asish Rai, Akash Mishra and Chinglensana Singh have been major catalysts for their performances thus far.
However, this team has a lot of potential to get better and improve certain aspects of the game. Their points tally would have been better if they had not made some individual errors in the games where they could have grabbed all three points. That being said, they can’t afford to drop points, especially other teams like NorthEast United, Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC being in touching distance.
The season is going from bad to worse for the Blues. This is their worst position in the points table ever since they made a jump to the ISL four years ago. Earlier this month, they sacked their ISL-winning coach Carles Cuadrat and appointed Naushad Moosa for the rest of the campaign. Despite that, their fortunes have not changed.
BFC are on a seven-match winless streak and they would be desperate to end it on Thursday night.
Hyderabad FC will be without Lluis Sastre and Nikhil Poojary for the game. Apart from them, all their players are available for selection, including new loanee Shankar Roy, who was traded in for Subrata Paul in the transfer window earlier this week.
Dimas Delgado is likely to miss the remainder of the campaign, as he flew back to Spain for personal reasons. Aashique Kuruniyan will also miss due to to the head injury he suffered early on in the competition. Xisco Hernandez, the club’s winter signing is likely to be available for selection in his second stint with the Blues.
Hyderabad FC: Kattimani; Rai, Chinglensana, Onaindia, Mishra; Hitesh, Alberg; Halicharan, Yasir, Chianese; Aridane.
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet; Bheke, Juanan, Gonzalez, Ajith; Partaalu, Wangjam; Udanta, Cleiton, Chhetri; Opseth.
Head to Head
The two sides have met each other on three occasions, out of which two games ended in a draw and one in favour of Bengaluru FC.
Hyderabad FC took on Bengaluru in one of the earliest games of the ongoing season. The match ended in a 0-0 draw, thanks to some spectacular saves from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and a wasteful Hyderabad attacking department.
Man to Watch
Fran Sandaza (Hyderabad FC)
Fran Sandaza is likely to come up against the inexperienced left-back of the Blues, Ajith Kumar and he would like to exploit that weak-link in the Bengaluru FC defence at Tilak Maidan. The Spaniard is an important signing made by Hyderabad and would be eager to hit the ground running against Bengaluru FC on Thursday.
The all-time Thai League top scorer, Cleiton Silva has been one of the few bright sparks for Bengaluru FC this season. The Brazilian attacker has scored four goals and provided two assists this campaign for the Blues and would surely like to better his numbers in the game against the Nizams.
Did you know ?
- This is Naushad Moosa’s first season as head coach of a senior team.
- Manolo Marquez, the current Hyderabad FC coach is the cousin of former BFC, HFC boss Albert Roca.
- Halicharan has scored more goals this season (4) compared to all the six previous seasons combined (2).
The match between Hyderabad FC and SC East Bengal will be telecasted 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.