National, 29 Dec: Hyderabad FC will be back in action with their second game in four days when they face FC Goa at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, on Wednesday. Having dropped to eighth in the points table after back-to-back losses, HFC will aim to end the year with a positive result.
FC Goa are fresh from a victory over Jamshedpur FC last Wednesday and are two points above Hyderabad in the points table, having played an extra game. A victory in this game will push either side closer to the top-4 in the league table.
“I think Goa are one of the strongest sides in the ISL. They have shown that they can play a good, offensive brand of football and are surely one of the favourites to end the season in the top-4,” said Manolo, speaking about the game ahead.
The visitors have been reliant on Igor Angulo in attack, with the 36-year-old already netting eight times in eight games this season, which is a sizeable chunk of Goa’s total of ten goals. The Spaniard is in fine goal-scoring form and will be a real threat for Hyderabad in this game.
“Angulo is a very good player. For me, he is the smartest forward in the league. Experienced and quick with his movements inside the box, he has shown his quality in many countries. He plays close to the off-side line, is a hard man to mark and will not be easy to keep quiet,” added Manolo.
But Juan Ferrando also has the likes of Edu Bedia, Jorge Oritz, Ivan Gonzalez and Jorge Mendoza, who can all win games on their own. Indian stars like Brandon Fernandes, Saviour Gama, Mohammad Nawaz and Seriton Fernandes also add a lot of stability to the side, who could prove to be hard to beat for Marquez’s side in this game.
Hyderabad FC, who have failed to score in their last two league games, will need Aridane Santana back in form for this clash. The glimpses of Fran Sandaza against Kerala were promising while the likes of Lluis Sastre could also be back in contention for this game, making them a stronger outfit.
“Lluis and Joel (Chianese) are both back in the squad for the game against FC Goa,” revealed Manolo, when asked about the team news for this game.
“I think we need fresh players for tomorrow’s game. I don’t like to make excuses about our injuries or about our schedule. These are the rules so it is possible we will see a few new faces tomorrow,” the 52-year-old added.
Both teams have picked up just three points from their last three games and will want to find some consistency to go into the new year high on confidence. But with very little to separate them on paper, this could prove to be an exciting contest in Vasco.
The game kicks off at 7:30 pm on Wednesday and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV.