HFC look to consolidate 2nd spot against Odisha FC
Bhubaneswar, Odisha: After a spirited performance to hold the league leaders at the Arena, Hyderabad FC are back in action when they take on Odisha FC in a tricky Indian Super League encounter at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday, February 10.
Manolo Marquez’s men are currently second in the points table with 36 points from 16 games. Odisha with 24 points, stand seventh, just a point outside the top-6 and need a positive result to stay in the race for the playoffs.
Josep Gombau’s side, who are currently winless in their last five games, started the season as one of the strongest sides in the competition. Diego Mauricio, with 10 goals, is among the leading goalscorers in the league and will be the man to watch out for, for the hosts.
The likes of Nandhakumar Sekar, Saul Crespo, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Carlos Delgado, Osama Malik and Raynier Fernandes have been consistent for Odisha and will provide a tough fight to the visiting Hyderabad side.
HFC Head Coach Manolo Marquez believes that same and said, “Odisha are fighting for a place in the top-6. They are a strong team when they play at home as we have seen so far this season and we know we will face a really strong side.”
“We expect to face a difficult team. They have good players and a very good coach. They are playing better than the last two seasons and it will be a tough game for us and also for them,” he added.
Hyderabad are unbeaten in their last eight games and this form sees them with an outside chance of pushing Mumbai City for the league shield. But they will need to take all three points from this tie to keep the title race alive.
Bartholomew Ogbeche, Javi Siverio, Borja Herrera and Joel Chianese along with Mohammad Yasir, Halicharan Narzary and Rohit Danu have been the key contributors in attack for Hyderabad. But it is their impeccable back-line that stands as the best defense in the league, that is the reason for their league position.
Odei Onaindia and Nim Dorjee Tamang’s partnership has been fruitful while Gurmeet Singh has been unbeatable at times in between the sticks this season. But Odisha have a strong attack, that will test this backline on Friday.
“The training sessions have been very similar to every game. We are working on our style of play and will look to counter the quality of this Odisha FC side,” said Manolo Marquez.
Both teams will be without the services of first-choice left-backs Akash Mishra and Sahil Panwar, with the duo serving a suspension for cards they picked up in the last game.
HFC beat Odisha in the reverse fixture with Mohammad Yasir’s 8th-minute goal in Hyderabad and this clash at the Kalinga Stadium is also expected to be a close affair.
The game kicks off at 7:30 pm IST and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV