Goa: After a narrow defeat in the last round, Hyderabad FC will aim to get back to winning ways this week, when they take on Chennaiyin FC in a crucial game at Fatorda on Thursday.
Having registered just one win in their last five league games, Manolo’s men will look to bounce back and put in a strong performance against their South Indian neighbors. Božidar Bandović’s side, who beat HFC 1-0 when the two sides met earlier in the season, have now lost three of their last four games and will also be determined to get a positive result from this clash.
HFC Head Coach Manolo Marquez believes the game will be yet another difficult one for both sides. “Chennaiyin started the season pretty well but have not found consistency. However, we are seven or eight teams in the league that can go to the top and if we lose, CFC can climb above us in the points table,” he said.
“They are a strong team with a very good coach. They are well organized and I am sure it will be a difficult game,” Manolo added.
Chennaiyin have been solid at the back with the likes of Slavko Damjanovic, Narayan Das and new signing Sajid Dhot in fine form in defense. Debjit Majumder has proven hard to beat in the goal in recent games making this a tough game for the HFC attack.
The Marina Machans also have a goalscoring threat led by Nerijus Valskis (who came in as a January signing) and Mirlan Murzaev leading the attack and Hyderabad need to be at their best to avenge the defeat from earlier this season.
Manolo believes that his side were unlucky to lose to Chennaiyin in the fixture earlier this season. “Chennaiyin are a team that prefer to play on the counter. We did not deserve to lose the last game against this team. They played with 10 players behind the ball and took advantage of one mistake.”
“So, we have to make sure that we are more prepared this time and should take our chances to win the game,” added the Spaniard.
Hyderabad remain the best defense in the league going into this game, conceding just 10 goals in their 10 games. The likes of Juanan, Akash Mishra and Asish Rai along with Chinglensana Singh have formed a formidable union at the back and will look to keep the hosts away from creating too many chances.
But at the other end, Manolo’s men will miss the services of Bartholomew Ogbeche, the leading goal scorer in the league, as the Nigerian remains suspended for accumulation of four yellow cards.
Hyderabad failed to find the back of the net just twice this season. Once in the last game and once against Chennaiyin FC which makes this game all the more interesting.
“You never know what will happen in this competition, but that is how football is. You cannot win every game so we need to learn and make sure we improve as a team,” said Manolo.
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.