Both sides come into the game on the back of a defeat.
Having lost both their games so far, Hyderabad FC are set to play their first home match of the season against Kerala Blasters on Saturday. The Blasters, on the other hand, are going away from home for the first time this term, with their first two matches being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.
Hyderabad FC, previously known as FC Pune City, suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at the hands of ATK in their debut Indian Super League match and it was followed by another lose to Jamshedpur FC, who fired three goals past them.
Their opponents on Saturday, the Blasters began their campaign with a narrow 2-1 win against ATK at home, but slumped to a 0-1 defeat to Mumbai City FC just four days later.
The Kerala-based outfit, who return to action following an 8-day break, will be looking to get back to winning ways and register a victory away from home. While Hyderabad have set their eyes on putting behind their previous disappointments.
The sixth edition of the Indian Super League is still in its early days, but it is important for teams that they do not drop too many points early on in the campaign. Hyderabad are at the bottom of the points table with no points, while Kerala Blasters are placed seventh with three points. Both sides will want to ensure they do not lag behind.
For Hyderabad FC, it is their first-ever home game in the competition and they will want to make sure that they put on a performance for their fans at GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium.
Blasters, as mentioned before, are getting on the road for the first this season and they will not want to come away empty-handed. The Yellow Army go into the game on the back of a defeat to Mumbai City FC and they have to avoid losing another one in succession.
After the side’s 0-1 loss to the Islanders at home, the Kerala Blasters fans are jittery about the prospects of the club going in a path similar to that of last term, that saw the side go on a 14-game winless run following the win against ATK in the opener.
Hyderabad FC boss Phil Brown has some injury concerns ahead of the Kerala Blasters clash, with the likes of Giles Barnes, Rafa Lopez Gomez, Sahil Panwar and Nikhil Poojary facing fitness issues. Bobo, who has missed both of the club’s previous matchday squads, is unavailable for selection due to an unknown ‘technical’ reason. While, Nestor Gordillo is suspended until December.
Kerala Blasters do not have as much trouble as their weekend opponents in terms of injuries, but still are without Spanish midfielder Mario Arques, who received an injury setback in the opener against ATK. It remains to be seen if TP Rehenesh, who has been confirmed as the side’s first-choice goalkeeper by manager Eelco Schattorie, is fit to go straight into the starting lineup after the goalkeeper wrote on his Instagram account that he’s feeling better and cannot wait to start playing for the side this week.
On paper, this will be the first time that the two sides will be going head-to-head. However, Kerala Blasters have faced FC Pune City in the earlier seasons, who have now been re-branded as Hyderabad FC. They held an edge over them, winning five of the ten games played. While Pune won two and the other three ended in draws.
Man To Watch
Marcelinho (Hyderabad FC)
The Brazilian forward is one of Hyderabad’s most dangerous players in attack and with uncertainty surrounding the likes of Bobo, Poojary and Barnes, Phil Brown’s plans can be expected to revolve around him. Marcelinho has also scored the side’s only goal of the season so far, finding the back of the net just before half-time against Jamshedpur earlier this week.
Bartholomew Ogbeche (Kerala Blasters)
The Nigerian’s brace gave Kerala Blasters the win against ATK in the season opener and he would have salvaged a point for the team against Mumbai City FC in the dying minutes of the game, if it was not for a wonderful save from Amrinder Singh. Ogbeche is arguably Kerala’s most threatening player and certainly, the one Hyderabad FC need to be wary of.
Kamaljit (GK); Gurtej, Kilgallon, Rai, Yasir; Adil, Stankovic, Ralte, Rohit; Marcelinho, Robin.
Bilal (GK); Rakip, Jairo, Zuiverloon, Jessel; Moustapha, Jeakson, Cidoncha, Prasanth, Narzary; Ogbeche.
Did You Know?
- Hyderabad FC are expected to have only three foreigners in their lineup due to the unavailability of their other four overseas players.
- Marcelinho has scored four goals in his eight appearances against Kerala Blasters
- Looking at Ogbeche’s record against the erstwhile FC Pune City, the Nigerian is yet to end on the losing side when facing them and has scored a goal in two appearances.
The match between Hyderabad FC and Kerala Blasters is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. It will also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.