The Face-Off #HFCATKMB

Indian Super League, Round 19

Hyderabad FC face league leaders, ATK Mohun Bagan on Monday in a massive game, going into the final leg of the campaign. Ahead of this clash, we take a look at the squads, the opponents, the key men, and more…


Round 4: ATK Mohun Bagan 1-1 Hyderabad FC (Manvir Singh 54’ | Joao Victor 65’ P)

Dec 11, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda

Hyderabad FC held ATK Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in their fourth game of the 2020-21 ISL season. ATKMB started the game on a dominating note as they pushed a young Hyderabad side to the backfoot, not allowing them much time on the ball in the first half.

Although Hyderabad looked more confident when they found their footing in the second half, a defensive mistake enabled Manvir Singh to give his side the lead with an instinctive finish in the 54th minute. Despite playing with just two overseas players in their Starting XI, Hyderabad FC showed great character as they kept pushing for the equalizer, which they got as Nikhil Poojary earned HFC a penalty ten minutes after the Mariners scored. Displaying impressive composure, Joao Victor converted the penalty to cancel ATK Mohun Bagan’s lead and secure a point for his side.

Along with the absence of key overseas players in the game, the young Hyderabad side also missed the encouraging presence of Manolo Marquez on the sidelines as he was suspended for the game. However, Assistant Coach Thangboi Singto did a fantastic job guiding the players and brought out their fighting spirit to seal the draw on the night.


Putting up consistent performances throughout the season, Antonio Lopez’s men have had an impressive run as they have managed to pick up 12 wins in 18 games, sending them to the top of the table surpassing mid-season leaders Mumbai.  Since the sides last met, ATKMB have made impactful changes to the squad which includes signing former HFC attacker Marcelinho and Lenny Rodrigues on loan from Odisha FC and FC Goa respectively. As the second team to qualify for playoffs, ATK Mohun Bagan are highly motivated which has reflected in the five straight wins that they have collected.

Following a massive 4-0 victory over Kerala Blasters, Hyderabad FC will come into the game with a strong sense of optimism and confidence. As the race for the playoffs is heating up with other teams inching closer to the business end of the tournament, Hyderabad will be looking to continue their emphatic performances from recent games.

Key Men

Arindam Bhattacharja (ATKMB)

Denying any goals to the opposition in 10 games out of 18, the Mariners lead when it comes to keeping clean sheets in the season due to the dependable work of their custodian between the sticks. Arindam’s command in the penalty box along with his ability to make crucial interceptions and acrobatic saves allow him to stand as an obstacle for the opposition attackers in the final third. The current leader for the Golden Glove is also extremely vocal with the backline, which will ensure defensive organization for ATK Mohun Bagan as they aim to negate Hyderabad’s attacking threats on Monday.

David Williams (ATKMB)

One of the most influential players for ATKMB, Williams is a danger to most teams in the league, given his versatility, pace, clinical finishing and his ability to link up with Roy Krishna. The Australian forward’s powerful strikes, possessional play and overall game sense collectively make him a real threat to the Hyderabad backline. Having scored an important goal to bring back the Mariners’ lead against SC East Bengal on Friday, Williams will come into the game with a determined mindset to continue his impactful performances.

Roy Krishna (ATKMB)

With 14 goals and four assists in 18 games, it is safe to say that this season’s highest goalscorer has been crucial in every game for ATK Mohun Bagan. The Fijian forward’s tireless work rate coupled with his ability to score even from a half chance makes him a menacing presence for the opposition defenders. Displaying his strength in the attacking third with positional awareness, high-intensity press, smart runs and instinctive finishing, Krishna will look to trouble the Hyderabad backline on Monday. Hyderabad will also be wary of his telepathic communication with David Williams on the field as it will be key to the Mariners’ performance on the night.

Fran Sandaza (HFC)

After scoring his first brace in the Indian Super League against Kerala Blasters FC on Tuesday, Sandaza will go into the game with the outlook of scoring more goals to strengthen his side’s performance. With a burly physique, instinctiveness on the ball, precise passing and the ability to convert chances, the Spaniard has proven to be a real matchwinner on his day. Paired with his adeptness in the final third, Sandaza could also test the Mariners through his partnership with Aridane Santana, Joel Chianese and Halicharan Narzary.

Joao Victor (HFC)

Running the show in the middle of the park, Joao has been an instrumental player for Hyderabad FC throughout the season. The Brazilian will have strong faith in his abilities on Monday because of his late goal against KBFC as well as the fact that he scored the equalizer the last time the sides met. With quick distribution of the ball, timely crosses, crucial interceptions, targeted shots and the ability to collaborate with his players on the pitch, Joao frustrates the opposition by causing problems all over the field. Additionally, his prowess in set-pieces could make him an important man to mark on Monday.

Odei Onaindia (HFC)

One of the most consistent players for his side, Odei has been instrumental in keeping clean sheets with his ability to thwart attacking threats from the opposition through crucial blocks, quick-paced runs in the back and effective clearances. Along with the Spaniard’s individual contributions, his centre-back pairing alongside Chinglensana Singh has become quite primed to handle the opposition’s attacking initiatives. Showing immense maturity and leadership at the back, the pair have stood tall in defence allowing Asish Rai and Akash Mishra to provide support in attack alongside their defensive shifts. Odei and Sana could be key for HFC on Monday with their ability to read the attackers’ movement on the ball, make timely interceptions, regulate possession and build-up play.

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