After cementing second place, Hyderabad FC will be looking to finish their final Indian Super League (ISL) league game at home on a high as they take on Jamshedpur FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Saturday.
The Red Miners are out of the playoffs race but can go level on points with East Bengal FC with a win. On the other hand, in their last five games, Hyderabad FC has only won on two occasions. One of these victories came in their last fixture against ATK Mohun Bagan earlier this week. Manolo Marquez’s men were on the verge of dropping points before Bartholomew Ogbeche came on as a substitute to seal all three points for Hyderabad FC.
After scoring his eighth goal of the campaign, Ogbeche could return to the starting lineup against Jamshedpur FC. Javier Siverio, who has scored five goals so far, started the last game as the sole striker. With a second-place finish sealed, Marquez is expected to give opportunities to a few players who are not a part of the team’s first-choice lineup.
“We are already second and on Saturday we will play with some players who are usually not in the lineup, but they deserve to be in it because they have trained really well throughout the season,” said Marquez as quoted by an ISL press release.
“I expect the game against Jamshedpur FC to be difficult because they are playing good football. They played to win against ATK [Mohun Bagan] and NorthEast [United]. I think they have found their best team,” he added.
Jamshedpur FC won the League Shield last season but has only managed to notch 13 points so far this season. A recent resurgence has seen the Red Miners pick up more than half of their points this season in the last five games, as they close in on ninth place. Last week, Jamshedpur FC held ATK Mohun Bagan to a goalless draw and picked up a vital point.
For the majority of the season, Jamshedpur FC was winless away from home. That scenario changed in the last five games when the Red Miners nabbed wins against East Bengal FC in Kolkata and NorthEast United FC in Guwahati.
“The preparations are going really well. I am delighted with the response of the players in the last eight or nine games. We are back on an upward curve again which is important,” said Aidy Boothroyd, the Jamshedpur FC manager.
“I am looking forward to the game. Hyderabad FC has become a big player in the league over the last few years. We had chances in the reverse fixture but were only beaten by the odd goal. Now we are looking forward to this challenge,” he added.
In seven previous ISL encounters between the two sides, there have been four stalemates. Jamshedpur FC has won twice, while Hyderabad FC notched their first-ever win earlier this season in the reverse fixture. (ANI)