HFC welcome ATKMB to Bambolim for the first leg of the semi-final
Goa: Having missed out on the league shield by a whisker, Hyderabad FC will be determined to make a good start to the race for the Indian Super League trophy when they host ATK Mohun Bagan at Bambolim in the first leg of the semi-final on Saturday, March 12.
HFC, who were the first team to qualify for the semi-finals, was also the top goal scorers in the league phase, and are fresh from a 2-1 win over Mumbai City FC. ATK Mohun Bagan finished 3rd in the league table, losing to Jamshedpur in the final round to bow out of the race to the league shield.
Having qualified for this stage for the first time in their history, Hyderabad FC will be committed to going all the way and Head Coach Manolo Marquez believes that his side will leave no stone unturned in their quest for the trophy.
“We lost a few players to COVID after the Mumbai game but in terms of football, we will arrive to this game pretty well. So, we are ready and prepared to take on a very good team in ATKMB,” said Manolo, speaking about his side’s preparations ahead of this game.
“Our team is full of young and brave players and most of them are without fear. It is the final phase of the season, so we have to enjoy this historic moment for Hyderabad,” he added.
Juan Ferrando’s men were one of just four teams to beat Hyderabad FC in the league phase. The likes of Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, David Williams, Tiri, Joni Kauko, and Roy Krishna have been in superb form this season and will be the danger men for Hyderabad FC once again in this game.
Speaking about the quality of the opponents from tomorrow, Manolo said, “I know that ATK Mohun Bagan has so many players, who are in the lineup for the national team. It is not just about Liston. There are a lot of others, maybe seven to eight players that can score goals and win games for them.”
“We have Bart who scored lots of goals and ATKMB have Liston. But it is more than just these two guys. It is possible that this game will be decided by other players,” Manolo added.
Bartholomew Ogbeche, who missed the last two league games, is still leading the Golden Boot race with 17 goals from 17 games. He has been supported well by the likes of Javi Siverio, Aniket Jadhav, Joel Chianese and Nikhil Poojary, who have all been among the goals.
Hyderabad also have the second best defense in the league with the partnership of Juanan and Chinglensana Konsham keeping things tight at the back. The support of Joao Victor in the middle and Akash Mishra on the wings has also been helpful.
With both teams full of quality players, this game will be a tough one for the two teams and Manolo Marquez believes that his side are ready for it. “I think we will play against a very strong team. We may have doubts about our physical conditions after the COVID wave but in terms of mentality and football, our team is ready to fight for a place in the finals,” said the Spaniard.
HFC are yet to beat the Mariners under Manolo Marquez but with a place in the final on the line, the boys from Hyderabad will be ready to give their best.The game kicks off at 7:30 pm on Saturday and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV.