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Hyderabad, Bengaluru square off in a big game at Vasco

Three crucial points on offer in promising Thursday-night clash 

Panaji, Goa: After three consecutive draws, Hyderabad FC will be in search of a positive result in Round 14 of the Indian Super League, when they host Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Thursday.

Both sides played out a goalless draw when they met at the Fatorda Stadium earlier in the season. And with just four points separating the two sides going into this clash, the three points on offer on the night could prove to be crucial, come the end of the campaign.

“I think tomorrow is another difficult game for my side. Bengaluru are a very strong team and I can only speak good about them. They have been unlucky with a few results recently but are one of the many teams in the hunt for top-4. So, we need to be at our best, going into this game,” said Manolo Marquez, HFC’s Head Coach, ahead of this crunch clash.

The Blues parted ways with Carles Cuadrat a week into the new year but are yet to register a victory in the league since. Naushad Moosa, who is currently in charge of the club, has seen his side pick just two points from their last four games, but has a quality squad to choose from ahead of this tie.

Attacker Cleiton Silva has been in fine goalscoring form in recent games, while the likes of Sunil Chhetri, Erik Partaalu, and Juanan have all been decent in patches. Dimas Delgado, who left the country for personal reasons and Deshorn Brown, who joined the Highlanders, will also be missed by the Blues.

Most of these players have the quality to win the game on their own and Manolo believes that they have been playing well in the last few games. “I sincerely believe that (Naushad) Moosa is doing a great job at BFC. They are starting to find their previous style of play and have been unlucky with injuries,” he said.

“They are a really good football team and we need to try and avoid situations where, we don’t have our defenders ready, when Bengaluru are in dangerous positions,” the Head Coach added.

Hyderabad FC have also picked up just three points from their last three games but are in a decent position, 13 games into the season. They go into this game in the 4th place and will look to consolidate their position in the league table.

Joel Chianese and Halicharan Narzary are in fine form in front of goal while the likes of Aridane Santana, Mohammad Yasir and Liston Colaco are all capable of making an impact in the final third.

The backline of Asish Rai, Odei Onaindia, Chinglensana Singha and Akash Mishra, supported by Laxmikant Kattimani have now kept two clean sheets in the last three games and will hope to put in a similar performance in this game as well.

But Manolo revealed that Nikhil Poojary and Lluis Sastre are both unavailable for Thursday. The duo, along with midfielder Souvik Chakrabarti are expected to miss this game. “We will try to score goals, however we can and will do our best to win this game,” said Manolo, speaking about his side’s approach to this tie.

“I don’t have particular plans for this game and will prepare exactly how we did for previous games. But we will do all we can and fight till the end for all three points,” he added.

Bengaluru can potentially reduce the gap to the top-4 to just a point with a win in this game. But a victory for Hyderabad FC will see them jump to 3rd place making this a crucial clash for both sides.

The game kicks off at 7:30 pm on Thursday and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV.

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