Unbeaten so far in five games but lying at the bottom half of the standings, Hyderabad FC face table toppers Mumbai City FC in an Indian Super League match here on Sunday.
Hyderabad have nine points from five games with two wins and three draws, while Mumbai City share the top spot with ATK Mohun Bagan. They have 13 points from four wins and a draw, the latter coming against Jamshedpur in the last round.
“Mumbai City FC are one of the favourites to top the league this season. They have a good coach, and a quality squad. They are smart with and without the ball, and are also dangerous in set-pieces. This is surely one of the more difficult games that we will play this season,” said Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez.
Sergio Lobera, who only took over Mumbai City at the start of the season, has already got his to side play some impressive football. The likes of Rowllin Borges, Adam le Fondre, Ahmed Jahouh, Hugo Boumous and Bartholomew Ogbeche have all put in match-winning performances in the first few games of the campaign.
To add to it, Hernan Santana, Mourtada Fall and even Amrinder Singh in the goal are also bang in form, and will fight for all three points in this game. However, Marquez believes his side will have opportunities to win the game on Sunday.
“They are a really dangerous side. They can score in different ways, are strong in set-pieces, can create chances from open play and are also a real threat in counter attacks. But in the end, it is a game of football and anything can happen on the night,” added Marquez.
Hyderabad are coming into Sunday’s match after their come-from-behind 3-2 win over SC East Bengal. They are one of just two teams left in the competition yet to lose a game but need a strong performance to get past a quality MCFC side.
Mumbai City, on the other hand, will be aiming to restore their points advantage at the top of the table. Mumbai missed creativity against Jamshedpur FC — their 64 percent possession led to just four shots on target — and that is one of the aspects that Lobera will look to rectify.
If Boumous, who has created more chances and registered more assists than anyone in the league so far, is fit enough to return, that will go a long way in solving that problem. “The most important thing in the last game was the finish. Because we created a lot of chances and when you create a lot of chances, you need to score,” Lobera said.
Like his opponents, Lobera too knows that he is in for a tough game against a tough team. “I knew the coach and the profile of the players,” Lobera said. “He (Marquez) was working in Las Palmas, the same club I was with in the past. I know his style of play.”