Hyderabad, NorthEast United square off in Guwahati

Manolo’s men look to register first win of ISL campaign

Guwahati: After an entertaining six-goal thriller in Pune, Hyderabad FC are back in action when they take on Marco Balbul’s NorthEast United in what promises to be yet another high-octane Hero Indian Super League clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati this Thursday.

Hyderabad registered just a point from their opening clash against Mumbai City FC while the Highlanders fell to a tough loss to Bengaluru FC in their first game of the season.

The hosts, NorthEast United, have added the likes of Michael Jakobsen, Romain Philippoteaux, Jon Gaztañaga, and Matt Derbyshire to an impressive core of Indian youngsters and proved a tough nut to crack for Bengaluru, who ran away with a narrow 1-0 win in that game.

And HFC Head Coach Manolo Marquez believes that the Highlanders were unlucky to be on the losing end on that night. “The other day against BFC, I don’t think they deserve to lose the game. It is not just about the goal (that was disallowed). I think NorthEast played really well with very dangerous players, like every season.”

“NorthEast always have very good foreigners and a very good squad. They played really well and I think they will be tough to beat in this game too,” added the Spaniard.

Hyderabad, on the other end, played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Mumbai City, with Joao Victor scoring twice on either side of Halicharan Narzary goal. The likes of Laxmikant Kattimani, Odei Onaindia, Mohammad Yasir, and Hitesh Sharma were all impressive throughout the game but a few defensive lapses allowed the Islanders back into the game time and again.

However, Manolo believes that his side are ready to put that result past them and fight for all three points in this tie.

“It was a great game for the spectators. At any moment, it felt like Mumbai could score, and the same for us, that we could score at any moment. These kinds of games without control is not really our style,” said Manolo.

“It is not just about the defensive line, it is mainly about how we defend as a team. It was just the second time we conceded three goals in a game since I arrived and we will look to do better in this game,” he added.

The Spaniard also revealed that the likes of Akash Mishra, Gurmeet Singh, and Joel Chianese will remain sidelined ahead of this crunch clash.

Hyderabad completed the double over the Highlanders last season with an aggregate score of 10-1 over the two fixtures. But up against a fresh-looking NorthEast side, this game promises to be a tough one for the defending Hero ISL Champions.

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

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