Manolo Marquez’s men hope to finish league campaign with a positive result
Hyderabad: After a determined performance in the previous game, Hyderabad FC are back in action this weekend when they take on Kerala Blasters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday, February 26, in what will be the last game of the Hero ISL League phase.
While Manolo Marquez’s men have cemented the 2nd spot in the league table, the fight for the third spot is still on. Blasters could move up to 3rd with a win in this game, which will give them a home advantage in the play-offs.
Ivan Vukamanovic’s side go into this game on the back of consecutive defeats, but have won each of their last five games in Kochi. Dimitrios Diamantakos, the leading goalscorer for the Blasters, has been aided well by the impressive Adrian Luna and Ivan Kaliuzhnyi in the midfield.
Sahal Abdul Samad, along with Jeakson Singh, Marko Leskovic and Ruivah Hormipam have all been consistent in the last few games and will prove to be a tough test for the Hyderabad FC side.
HFC Head Coach Manolo Marquez expects yet another close game between the two sides. “After the defeat in the last game, we need to finish the league phase with a positive game. I know Ivan and I am sure Kerala Blasters will also want to win, in front of the fans from Kerala,” said Manolo.
“I expect them to play with a strong lineup and like always this might be another close game between two strong sides,” he added.
Hyderabad, who have now picked up just eight points from their last six games, will look to get back to winning ways in search of their first ever victory in Kerala. Bartholomew Ogbeche, who has now scored each of the last three goals for HFC, will be gunning to face his former side.
But the form of Javi Siverio, Joel Chianese, Halicharan Narzary, Mohammad Yasir and Rohit Danu in attack will a threat for the visitors in this game. Hyderabad also have a strong backline, that stands as the best defense in the league so far and they will hope to put in a solid display at the back to try and take all three points from this game.
“We need to train hard, and play a good game against the Blasters. We made a few changes in the last game, which was a good moment for us. But we will play a different XI and hope to win and entertain the crowd in Kerala,” said the HFC Head Coach.
The Blasters were the first team to beat Hyderabad in the league this season and will hope to put in a similar performance in this game as well. But Manolo’s men will look to better what is already their best ever league season, and hope to go into the semi-finals on a high.
The result of this clash will decide the play-offs, and with a lot riding on this game, the league phase of the Indian Super League promises a nervous end.
The game kicks-off at 7:30 pm IST on Sunday and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV