Defending champions Bengaluru FC will look to continue their unbeaten run when they go up against hosts Hyderabad FC in an Indian Super League match at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium today (Friday).
After registering three draws in their first three matches, Carles Cuadrat’s men have defeated rivals Chennaiyin FC 3-0 and Kerala Blasters 1-0 to get their title defence back on track.
Up next for the defending champions are struggling debutants Hyderabad. Phil Brown’s side is at the bottom of the standings with three points from five matches, which includes one win and four defeats so far.
A win will put Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC atop the ISL 2019-20 points table, whereas if Hyderabad FC could manage to spring a surprise they will be able to over the agony of being at the deck of the ten-team league table. A win can take them up three places to the seventh position, above the Mumbai Indians, Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters.
“Hyderabad need the points, so it’s going to be a tough game for us. Especially after you lose a game in the manner that they did, you want to come back from it and be focused so they are going to be better than they were before,” Cuadrat said ahead of the game.
Hyderabad FC boss Phil Brown also admitted that his players were feeling the pressure but trusted the team to perform. “We do not deserve to be where we are in the league table. However, if we keep on working hard and put honest performances, things will change. We are feeling the pressure as we are 10th. But all I can ask is that the boys give their 100 per cent while they are representing the club,” said Brown.
The game against the Blues will be Hyderabad’s most difficult yet, considering both teams’ defensive records. The unbeaten Bengaluru FC have conceded just one goal and that too not from open play and have the most number of clean sheets in the sixth season of ISL.
On the other hand, not only had the side managed by Brown failed to keep a clean sheet in the ISL, but Hyderabad FC have also conceded a league-high 12 goals in five matches.
Bengaluru midfielder Dimas Delgado, after failing to make the desired impact in the first three games, has found his rhythm in the last two matches with two assists to his name.
Skipper Sunil Chhetri, who started the season playing as a left-winger supporting Manuel Onwu, played centrally and scored a goal each in the last two games.”When you are one of the best strikers in the country, you have to contribute a lot to the team and the team will be reliant on you. Chhetri has scored twice already and he’s always getting into good positions and I’m happy with his performances,” said the Bengaluru coach.
Hyderabad, who have scored just one goal from open play this season, are reliant on Marcelinho to produce the goods in front of goal.
Likely Line up:
Hyderabad FC: Kamaljit Singh (GK), Matthew Kilgallon, Rafael Lopez Gomez, Gurtej Singh, Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Marko Stankovic, Rohit Kumar, Marcelo Pereira, Bobo, Robin Singh.
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Albert Serran, Juanan, Harmanjot Khabra, Nishu Kumar, Erik Paartalu, Raphael Augusto, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chhetri (C), Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh
The match at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium will kick start at 7:30 pm. Fans can catch all the action LIVE and Exclusive on Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Kannada, Star Sports 1 Telugu, Star Sports 1 Bangla.
The feed will also be streamed LIVE on Hotstar and JioTV.