Indian Super League, Round 2
Ahead of Hyderabad FC’s second Indian Super League clash, against Bengaluru FC, we take a quick look at the squads, the opponents’ form and the key players to look out for.
Carles Cuadrat took over as Head Coach of Bengaluru FC in the 2018-19 Indian Super League, and helped them win the ISL the same season. Now in his third year at the club as Head Coach, the Catalan manager has established a playing style that relies on defensive organization, set-pieces and counter-attacks. His vast experience paired with his familiarity with the players will play a crucial role in Bengaluru’s 2020-21 campaign.
Cuadrat’s side have retained its core group of players and signed notable names like Cleiton Silva, Kristian Opseth alongside last-season’s January-signing Deshorn Brown to strengthen their attack. They secured the services of defensive supremo Fran Gonzalez, a major contributor to Mohun Bagan’s I-League victory, to replace the outgoing center-back Albert Serran. The Blues also have midfielder Ajay Chhetri who played on loan at Hyderabad FC last season.
Bengaluru FC drew 2-2 with FC Goa in their first game this season at the Fatorda. Cleiton and Juanan scored in either half but Igor Angulo’s three-minute brace left them with just a point to take from that game. Both their goals came from set-pieces, and that will be something Manolo Marquez’s men need to be wary of. Meanwhile, Hyderabad FC come into the game after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Odisha FC.
Bengaluru’s team has been built around a strong defence and last season, they conceded only 13 goals in the league stage with goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu keeping a league-record 11 clean sheets. Powering through their defense could be a big test for the HFC attackers.
Both teams also faced off at Ella in a preseason friendly game where they drew 1-1. BFC’s Wungngayam Muirang gave his side the lead heading in a corner kick in the first half, before Aridane scored a penalty in the second half to equalize with Sunil Chhetri having missed earlier from the spot. The preseason tie would have helped both teams get a fair idea of each other’s playing styles which could make this game an interesting watch, even for the neutrals.
Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru FC)
The highest Indian goal scorer in the ISL and Bengaluru’s long-serving skipper, Sunil Chhetri was also the top scorer for his team during the 2019-20 season bagging nine goals. One of the most consistent players in the ISL, Chhetri will be a threat for HFC on Saturday.
Cleiton Silva (Bengaluru FC)
Brazilian striker, Cleiton Silva looked the most impactful in their first game against FC Goa. He gave his side the lead in the 27th minute, contributed to the second goal and put in some testing crosses. His battle with our backline will be a contest to watch out for.
Juanan (Bengaluru FC)
One of BFC’s longest-serving foreigners, Juanan was an influential factor in BFC’s formidable defensive performance last season. He also found the back of the net in the first game against Goa. The experienced 33-year-old is not only strong in defence but provides additional threat during set-pieces.
Aridane Santana (Hyderabad FC)
Aridane started his campaign for Hyderabad with a match-winning goal against Odisha FC. He made his presence felt in the opponent’s half during every corner and was effective in build-up play. Having also netted against Bengaluru FC in the preseason friendly, the Spanish forward will be looking to cause more problems for the Blues’ backline on Saturday.
Liston Colaco (Hyderabad FC)
Coming on as a substitute in the second half against Odisha, Liston contributed immensely to Hyderabad’s attack. He played with great intent and made some noteworthy runs to help HFC see off the game. His pace and skill could cause problems to BFC’s defence.
Odei Onaindia (Hyderabad FC)
A calm and composed defender, Odei Onaindia brings in plenty of experience to this Hyderabad side. His staunch defensive contribution along with a pass accuracy of 89% and his strong partnership with Joao Victor played a crucial role in registering our first clean-sheet. His aerial prowess will come in handy against a BFC side that is effective over a dead ball.