Hyderabad FC await Bengaluru test

Marquez’s men look to build on the winning start to their ISL campaign

Panaji, Goa: Having started their 2020-21 Indian Super League season with a hard-fought victory over Odisha FC, Manolo Marquez’s side are back in action this weekend, when they face Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, on Saturday.

Carles Cuadrat’s side were held to a 2-2 draw against FC Goa in their first game of the campaign after leading by two goals, but will be a tough side to face for the new-look Hyderabad squad.

“This is the one of the biggest challenges for my team this season. Bengaluru FC have a great coach, and have lots of experience in the ISL. They have to be one of the favourites as well,” said Marquez, on the eve of the game.

During the off-season, Bengaluru added some key foreigners, signing the likes of Kristian Opseth, Cleiton Silva, and Fran Gonzalez all of who are expected to make an impact at the club. Silva got his debut goal for Cuadrat’s side in the previous game against FC Goa while Opseth also showed some promise.

Hyderabad and Bengaluru previously met in a pre-season friendly in Goa, where the game ended 1-1. Aridane Santana scored for HFC while Wungngayam Muirang was on target for BFC.

Speaking about the quality in Bengaluru’s squad, Manolo said, “Silva, Chhetri, Brown, Opseth, Udanta and Paartalu. These are all players who are tough to keep quiet. Bengaluru’s starting XI is probably the toughest to predict in the ISL.”

Hyderabad FC’s victory over Odisha FC saw them put in a strong performance all around the field. Aridane’s goal from the spot made the difference in the end but the likes of Akash Mishra, Mohammad Yasir, Halicharan Narzary and Liston Colaco, all contributed to HFC sealing all three points from the game.

The experience of Odei Onaindia, Joao Victor and Subrata Paul at the back also helped register the first clean sheet in the club’s history. But this weekend’s game could pose a different challenge. Bengaluru’s gameplan will rely heavily on the physical presence of their overseas players in Paartalu, Fran, Opseth and Juanan, with the latter getting on the scoresheet against Goa.

“We know it will be a tough game. BFC are a physically strong side but we have a squad that can beat any team on their day,” Manolo added.

On the team news front, Hyderabad will welcome back Joel Chianese who returns after missing the opening round clash. “Joel missed the first game because he was ill but he has now recovered completely and could play but Fran Sandaza is out for this game,” added Marquez.

The game kicks off at 7:30 pm on Saturday, and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streams on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV.

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