Hyderabad gear up for tough ATK Mohun Bagan test

Youngsters aim to step-up against strong ATKMB side

Panaji, Goa: Hyderabad FC are back in action when they face ATK Mohun Bagan FC at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Fatorda, in the fourth round of the Indian Super League campaign. After consecutive draws in the last two games against Bengaluru and Jamshedpur, Hyderabad will now aim to capitalize on their chances against Antonio Lopez’s side.

The hosts ATKMB come into this game on the back of their first loss of the ISL campaign, having suffered a 2-1 defeat to Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC on Monday. However, having won three back-to-back games before that, the Kolkata-side remain third in the league table, three points off Mumbai City at the top. Meanwhile, Hyderabad, who have played three games, are sixth with five points.

“ATKMB are one of the top teams in the ISL and it is not going to be easy. Apart from quality in the foreign contingent, they have good Indian players but at the same time, we also have our plans for this game,” said Assistant Coach Thangboi Singto in the build-up to this clash. Singto will lead HFC in the absence of Manolo Marquez who serves a one-game suspension.

“On the night, it is going to be 11v11 and if we can give our best, focus on our strengths and play our own game, we can come out with a good result,” he added further.

Last season’s joint-top scorer, Roy Krishna will lead ATKMB’s front line and will be the biggest threat for Hyderabad on Friday. The Fijian has netted once in each of the four games so far and will be the one to watch out for.

“I think ATKMB has strong players all around the field. They have Roy Krishna up front and the back three is strong as ever. Krishna is someone who did well last season, but apart from him, they have players like Manvir and Williams, so it is not about having specific plans for each player but we have to be aware of their attacking threats from all angles,” the HFC assistant coach added.

Lopez has a strong backline of Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, and Tiri, who have conceded just two goals in the league campaign. The likes of Carl McHugh, Prabir Das, and Glan Martins have all been meticulous with their midfield duties but the danger men will surely be Krishna and Edu Garcia, both of who are in fine form.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad FC, who started the season with a win over Odisha, were held to draws by Bengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC in the last two games. While the aim is to bounce back, the injuries in the squad to key players won’t make the job easy.

However, the 46-year-old believes that this is the best chance for the rest of the squad to step-up. “Joel isn’t far away but he is still unavailable. Aridane is also not available for the next match. The medical team, with all their knowledge and support, are doing what they can. In sports, this is an opportunity for other players to come up and say ‘Hey coach, you can count on me!’ and that is what we are hoping that the players are going to do,” he added.

HFC have conceded just one goal so far in the campaign, and have two clean sheets to their name. Like the hosts in this game, Hyderabad also have a strong and confident backline, who will face their biggest test on Friday.

“We will miss players like Aridane but as footballers, this is what you wait for. We have to showcase whatever we are capable of, and that’s the main focus for us. Whoever plays tomorrow has to give their best, and that is all we ask from the players,” said Singto.

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

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