Indian Super League, Round 20
In an early kickoff on Sunday, Hyderabad FC face FC Goa in what will be a decider as both teams fight for the final position in the playoffs. Ahead of this massive clash, we take a look at the squads, the opponents, the key men, and more…
Round 8: Hyderabad FC 1-2 FC Goa (Aridane Santana 58’ | Ishan Pandita 87’, Igor Angulo 90+1’)
Dec 30, Tilak Maidan, Vasco
Hyderabad FC suffered their third defeat of the campaign as they went down 2-1 to a resilient FC Goa who came back from a goal down to secure all three points in the last game of the ISL in 2020. The first half witnessed an energetic display in the attacking third from both sides but neither team could create clear chances to test the goalkeepers at either end.
Starting the second half aggressively, Hyderabad restricted Goa to their half and kept pressing high up, in search of a breakthrough. Their intent soon paid off as Aridane opened the scoring just before the hour mark to give his side the lead. Although Manolo Marquez’s men did well to keep Goa’s attackers away from the goal for the most part of the game, Ishan Pandita managed to cancel our lead by heading Edu Bedia’s free-kick into the goal, from his first touch of the game. Within four minutes, Alberto Noguera threaded a through ball for Igor Angulo who produced an excellent finish to inflict a third successive defeat on Hyderabad in the final minutes of the game.
Since this game, HFC have stitched an unbeaten run of 11 games with four victories and seven hard-fought draws.
Starting the season with a mixed bag of results, FC Goa have are now undefeated in 12 games, and come into this game with back to back wins. Since the sides last met, the Gaurs have signed Dheeraj Singh from ATK Mohun Bagan as a goalkeeper, Amarjit Singh and Glan Martins to replace Flan Gomes and Lenny Rodrigues respectively. Adil Khan has switched camps to join FC Goa on loan from Hyderabad FC. Manolo’s men will miss the presence of Chinglensana Singh (red card) at the back and Aridane Santana (accumulation of yellow cards) in attack, both of who are suspended for this game. Asish Rai who has been ruled out for the season due to an injury will be a big miss for his side.
With NorthEast United FC securing their spot in the playoffs, Sunday’s game will be a decider for both teams as they aim to reach the playoffs. Sitting two points below FCG, anything other than a win will take Hyderabad out of the qualification equation.
Following a spirited performance from 10 men against ATKMB, Hyderabad FC will come into the game with a determined mindset. Although the side will feel the absence of key players in the clash, Manolo’s men will fight hard to clinch the final spot in the playoffs.
Igor Angulo (FCG)
With 13 goals to his name, the Spanish forward has consistently been at the helm of attacking movements for the Gaurs. Displaying immense composure in the attacking third, Angulo can be a real clinical finisher on his day. Using positional awareness coupled with instinctive finishing, smart runs and skilled footwork, he will look to trouble the Hyderabad backline on Sunday. Having scored the opening goal against Bengaluru FC last week, Angulo will come into the game high on confidence which will be enhanced by the fact that he scored the last time his side played against Hyderabad.
Jorge Ortiz (FCG)
One of the most influential cogs in FCG’s wheel, Ortiz is a danger to most teams in the league, given his versatility, inch-perfect deliveries, powerful strikes and prowess in set-pieces. The Spanish midfielder’s ability to breach the opposition’s defence through his positioning, quick-paced runs, accurate passes and high-intensity press make him a real threat to the Hyderabad backline. As a midfielder who can put in energetic shifts all over the pitch, Ortiz could be a frustrating presence for Hyderabad with his ability to regulate possession by linking up with every player on the field.
Alberto Noguera (FCG)
Leading the chart for most assists made by a player this season and nine direct goal contributions (1G + 8A), it is safe to say that Noguera has been a key presence in the middle of the park for FC Goa. His precision in passing, disciplined tackles, timely clearances and targeted shots enable him to dictate the game against the opposition. Noguera is adept at winning the ball back and can create frequent opportunities for the FCG strikers, making him an all-round threat to HFC. Hyderabad will also be wary of his ability to link up with Ortiz and Angulo as it will be instrumental to the Gaurs’ performance on Sunday.
Halicharan Narzary (HFC)
Putting in lively performances on the field throughout the season, the Indian International has shown consistent quality in attack, scoring four goals for his side. In the absence of Aridane who has been Hyderabad’s key striker in the 2020-21 campaign, Narzary has taken charge of the attacking front in the past and will be expected to do the same on Sunday as well. His tireless work rate coupled with well-positioned runs and threatening crosses, make Narzary a menace for the opposition backline. The FCG defenders will keep a watch on Narzary’s partnership with Fran Sandaza, Joel Chianese and Liston Colaco in the front and Akash Mishra on the flank.
Nikhil Poojary (HFC)
Providing great support across the field, the versatile Poojary added solidity to the 10-man Hyderabad side against ATK Mohun Bagan on Monday. Following the absence of a few regular players at the back, Poojary will look to facilitate the proceedings in defence through bold tackles, well-timed clearances and quick distribution of the ball. One to make constant darting runs in the front and send defence-splitting crosses to set up the Hyderabad strikers in goal, Poojary will be an important man to mark on Sunday.
Odei Onandia (HFC)
Hyderabad FC’s dependable wall at the back, Odei has contributed massively in the resilient defensive performance from the team this season. With the suspension of his partner, Sana Singh, in defence, the Spaniard will be expected to take charge of the backline to hold the fort for his side on Sunday. Odei will aim to stop FC Goa’s attacking threats through his ability to read the game, effective ball distribution, instinctive interceptions and build-up play. Owing to his strong physique and aerial strength, he could also be a threat in set-pieces.