FC Goa will be squaring off against Hyderabad FC in the 34th match of the Indian Super League at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. As the competition slowly heads towards the end of the first phase, this game will be very effective for both sides.
The Gaurs had one of the worst starts to their campaign having lost the opening three games. But, they have already made a strong comeback with two back-to-back wins against SC East Bengal and Bengaluru FC. They will look to build on that momentum and produce another brave performance against HFC.
The Nizams, on the other side, will be eager to keep their good run of form going when they play FCG away from home on Saturday night. They come into this after a scintillating performance against North East United FC. They are also unbeaten in their last four games.
Both teams will look to push hard for a win. A win will take Hyderabad to second place on the point table ahead of Jamshedpur FC whereas for Goa three points from this game will get them closer to the playoffs spot. Ahead of the clash, here are the five things we can expect to happen:
Hyderabad FC's first-ever win over Goa
Hyderabad's record against Goa haven't been good at all. The Nizams are yet to taste victory against the Gaurs in the ISL. The two teams have faced each other on four occasions since the inception of Hyderabad FC in 2019.
FC Goa has always had an upper hand over HFC. They have been victorious on three occasions, while one game ended as a draw. HFC are looking more organised and have more improvements this time. It goes without saying that they will be very keen to change the script against Goa on Saturday.
Hyderabad full-backs vs Goa wing-backs
On the contrary, Ashish Rai and Akash Mishra have been arguably the best full-back duo in the Indian Super League for the past two seasons. Both of them have been playing great importance to Hyderabad's attacking prowess. They have an immense quality to put the ball into the box from any sort of position and deliver the crosses with great accuracy.
In a nutshell, the duel between Hyderabad full-backs and Goa wing-backs will be very entertaining to see.
Possession based football from FC Goa
Since his arrival to FC Goa, Juan Ferrando has embodied the heavy possession-based system. With the likes of Edu Bedia, Ivan Gonzalez, and Alberto Noguera their approach has always been the same.
No other team in the ISL, control the ball like the Gaurs. On average, FC Goa had 65.2% of ball possession in their opening five games. They want to have the ball for most of the time and this is how they will play against HFC.
All eyes will be on Bartholomew Ogbeche
Bartholomew Ogbeche has been in fine form this season. He has now scored in four consecutive games including a brace against North East United in the last game. The Nigerian forward is currently leading the Golden Boot race, having scored five goals in the opening five games in the Indian Super League.
All eyes will be on Bart who will once again look to steal the show with his stunning goalscoring record and get the job done for HFC.
Airam Cabrera to lead the Goa attack
Jorge Ortiz will miss the Hyderabad match and Airam Cabrera could occupy his place. Ortiz is suspended for tomorrow's game after being sent off against Bengaluru FC. It might be unfair to compare the two players but Airam could well be a crucial player for Goa in this game.
Airam has one goal to his name so far and would be instructed to lead the Goa attack along with Devendra Murgaonkar. This will be a great opportunity for him and he would like to take full advantage of it.
Probable Line Ups
FC Goa (3-5-2): Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem (GK); Mohamed Ali, Ivan Gonzalez, Aibanbha Dohling; Seriton Fernandes, Princeton Rebello, Alberto Noguera, Edu Bedia, Saviour Gama, Devendra Murgaonkar, and Airam Cabrera.
Hyderabad FC (4-5-1): Laxmikant Kattimani (GK); Ashish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Juanan, Akash Mishra; Joao Victor, Hitesh Sharma, Nikhil Poojary, Edu Garcia, Rohit Danu; Bartholomew Ogbeche.
The match between FC Goa and Hyderabad FC will take place on December 18, 2021, at 9:30 p.m. at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim. The match will be telecasted LIVE on Star Sports Network and will be streamed live on Disney+Hotstar and JioTV. Foreign viewers can switch to the OneFootball app to watch the game LIVE from anywhere in the world outside India.
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