They’ve been enjoying an unexpectedly good start to the Indian Super League, and Hyderabad FC will hope to keep their unbeaten run going when they take on table-toppers Mumbai City FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday.
Manolo Marquez’s men bounced back from a run of three straight draws when they downed SC East Bengal in their previous game. But they will have their task cut out against a Mumbai side that will be looking to put a disappointing 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC behind them. That is not something that’s lost on Marquez.
“Mumbai City, in my opinion, are the favourites to win the regular season,” Marquez said.
“They’ve got a very good team with a lot of quality and a top coach. They play good football, are good in the high press, good in set-pieces. For me, they are one of the more difficult games that we will play.”
As tough as the challenge may be, Marquez knows he has enough firepower to come back with all three points. He will no doubt be buoyed by the form of Aridane Santana, who has netted four times in the league already.
“Of course, we will have the possibility to win the game. We can win or lose with all the teams and it depends on our performance. We’ve prepared for the game in the same way we’ve prepared for other games. Of course, we have looked at videos of the opponent. They are a team that wants to keep the ball, the same as our team. We have to be prepared to defend very well,” Marquez added.
Sergio Lobera’s team will be aiming to restore their points advantage at the top of the table, with Mumbai currently level on points with ATK Mohun Bagan. Mumbai missed creativity against Jamshedpur — 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 Hugo 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,” Lobera said. “Because we created a lot of chances and when you create a lot of chances, you need to score.
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.”