Two-time champions Chennaiyin FC will aim to find form after a series of lacklustre performances this season, as they take on debutant Hyderabad FC on Monday. The Phil Brown-headed Hyderabad side is yet to dish out the brand of football with one win registered so far against Kerala Blasters. Chennaiyin FC, placed in the foot of the Indian Super League standings, will look to make amends as the team’s fortunes went downhill following a series of underwhelming results.
Not surprisingly, for Hyderabad, a lot will depend on the efficacy of the livewire Marcelinho. Gregory’s side, too, will put the best foot forward to ward off the challenge from Hyderabad, with the onus being on the mid-fielders in order to press forward and feed the forward line.
The Bridge caught up with Tarun Aritakula, a Hyderabad FC fan, to discuss his team’s chances against hosts Chennai.
Q> How has been the season so far for Hyderabad FC?
It’s not been the ideal start to the season. We can’t blame the players nor the manager. Injuries have affected the squad a lot. Two tough away games at the start of the season against two strong opponents. But we’ve seen glimpses of what our team could do in the two home games. We came from behind against the Blasters. We were unfortunate not to get anything from the Northeast game. It hurts to be 2nd from last but I feel the squad would be rejuvenated with players coming back from injuries. We had the international break at the right moment. Only see our team going upwards from here on.
Q> With two difficult home matches after today’s match, how important is it to get three crucial points from this game?
It’s a no brainer. Three points from this game would be very vital. Especially going into the Bengaluru game. We all know how strong they are. The best team in the league by far. We have Goa after that. Another strong team. It’s time to show our mettle against the big guns. Two tough games! So it’s important to get a win from the Chennayin game, climb up the ladder and have momentum on our side. Chennai also has had its fair share of troubles. But even they’d be looking at this game as a moment to kick start their season.
Q> What are your thoughts on Chennaiyin FC?
If you speak about them in terms of honours, they have won the league twice! So that’s how high their standards are. Maybe their season hasn’t turned out how they’d wanted it to, but can’t deny the fact that they are one of the best teams in the league.
Q> What, according to you, will be your starting XI?
The lineup would be pretty much similar to the last two games. 3 at the back with Gurtej, Shankar, and Matt Poojary and Yasir as wing-backs with Marko and Rohit occupying the midfield. Marcelinho upfront along with Halder and Robin.
Q> What is your score prediction for today’s match?
2-0 to us. Probably Marcelinho scoring a brace.