ISL: Winless Hyderabad FC locks horns with struggling Mohun Bagan SG | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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ISL: Winless Hyderabad FC locks horns with struggling Mohun Bagan SG

ANI |
Dec 02, 2023 09:34 AM IST

Mohun Bagan has recently faced two losses in AFC Cup while Hyderabad FC has faced three draws and four losses in ISL so far.

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], December 2 (ANI): Hyderabad FC will take on the Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, as the Mariners return to the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 action after playing their last match in the competition a month ago against Jamshedpur FC.

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In between, the Juan Ferrando-coached MBSG side faced two defeats in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, against Basundhara Kings and Odisha FC respectively. It is the loss against the Juggernauts, by 5-2, which would have raised serious questions, given that the incredible quality coming through their ranks arguably does not justify the scoreline.

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However, Ferrando can take solace from the fact that he has the requisite players at his disposal to spark a turnaround, and they perhaps have the perfect opportunity to do so against a Hyderabad FC unit that is yet to see success this season.

Hyderabad has drawn thrice and lost four games in seven encounters, but they must look at this as a window of opportunity against a strongly built Mohun Bagan Super Giant set up embroiled in the middle of overcoming successive setbacks.

*What's at stake?

Mohun Bagan Super Giant

There are few things as dangerous as a wounded tiger. The Mariners would not have taken the loss inflicted by Odisha FC on them on their home turf lightly and one can be assured that they have the necessary talent amongst their ranks to make up for their defeats at the continental stage in the last two games. It is an assembled squad of highly successful individuals, who will be keen to get their season back on track to march In the race for the top spot in the league.

To be fair, they have not faltered on that front, winning all four of their ISL games thus far. The Mariners are scoring over 2 goals per game on an average in this campaign, which is the highest rate amongst all teams. They have also conceded merely four times in all these matches thus far. On paper, they should fancy their chances against a struggling Hyderabad FC unit but football is won on the field and they need to be on top of their game in Bhubaneswar.

Hyderabad FC

"Offensively, I think today we are talking about creating chances. We did create chances today too, like in the previous games. It is just the same thing. It is a repetition of putting the ball in the net, (and being) more clinical. I think the players are trying their best, and that is the good part. But we are still missing the goals," Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto had said after they lost 1-0 to Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi last week as quoted by an ISL release.

The genesis of all problems for Hyderabad FC is their inability to put balls into the back of the opposition's net. They need to work steadfastly to find solutions, especially considering that the likes of Joe Knowles, Mohammad Yasir, Petteri Pennanen amongst others have all shown shades of individual brilliance at some point in the season. For those efforts to come together and unravel collectively on the pitch is something that needs to happen quickly for Singto to get some momentum underway in this campaign.

*Key Players

Armando Sadiku (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)

The Albanian striker has netted once each in the ISL and the AFC Cup so far, but his sharpness and eye for a strike cannot be spoken enough of. The 32-year-old could be leading the frontline or play in a two-striker setup, but his smart movements often cause troubles for the opposition's backline.

He can draw defenders towards him by dropping back on the field and even shunt out wide and put out deliveries inside the box by creating more space down the middle. Sadiku is a threat in the air too, and these traits make him an all-round package that Hyderabad FC must be prepared to neutralise in the coming contest.

Mohammad Yasir (Hyderabad FC)

The 25-year-old attacking midfielder is the line connecting the Hyderabad FC attack to their players in the centre of the park. The team requires his services now more than ever as they vehemently search for answers for their goal-scoring concerns.

Yasir is someone who can operate in tight spaces, deliver defence-splitting passes, and even knock a goal or two with his awareness in front of the net. Hyderabad FC needs him to be involved on the ball and that too in advanced positions for a greater duration so that chances keep coming their way consistently during this faceoff against a Mohun Bagan Super Giant unit that will be raring to strike back.

*Head-to-Head

Played - 10

Mohun Bagan Super Giant - 3

Hyderabad FC - 2

Draws - 5

*Team Talk

"We are professionals. Our way is to look forward, work, and get the next three points. We are very disappointed and upset, but I think the most important thing for us at this moment is to play well against Hyderabad FC and get the victory," Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Juan Ferrando quipped on the aforementioned loss against Odisha FC and put the focus on the clash against Hyderabad FC in the pre-match press conference.

"We are still very positive in the sense that whatever we have to do as a team, staff, and coaches, we are doing that. The only thing is about the result, but in terms of hard work and performances, everything is on what we expect. Speaking about Mohun Bagan, I think it is a team of stars, but I watched their match against Odisha FC, and I think it is a good time to play them. They have very good players, both starting and on the bench too," Hyderabad FC tactician Thangboi Singto said prior to the game. (ANI)

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