Hyderabad: Hyderabad Football Club, who entered the semifinals for the first time in the history of Indian Super League, are geared up for the ATK Mohun Bagan challenge in the first leg of semis, on Saturday. The Manolo Marquez side, which missed the last-four spot by a whisker last season, became the first side to […]
Hyderabad: Hyderabad Football Club, who entered the semifinals for the first time in the history of Indian Super League, are geared up for the ATK Mohun Bagan challenge in the first leg of semis, on Saturday.
The Manolo Marquez side, which missed the last-four spot by a whisker last season, became the first side to enter the knockouts and the team from the land of Nawabs is brimming with confidence after finishing second in the league. Their loss to Jamshedpur FC dented their chances of League Shield. Hyderabad also suffered a setback when their players were hit with Covid recently.
Speaking on the eve of the match, Marquez said the players are recovering. “The players are recovering step by step. We lost two or three players in the game against Mumbai. Seven of them went directly from the room to the field. In terms of football, we will arrive with our best team. In terms of physical condition, we have to wait till the last minute. We are ready and prepared for the match against ATK,” he added.
For Hyderabad FC, it will be their first ever knockout match and the 53-year-old Spaniard said the players are ready for it. “It is a historic moment for the club and we have to enjoy it. Our team is full of young brave players. More than fear, they are happy that they are in the semis,” he added. When asked about the team’s turnaround this season, he said, “The continuity in the team is crucial. We had six players in the team who were part of the national side. That meant that we didn’t need to change the team much. We have very good young Indian players and have some good experienced foreigners. It is a good mix to have and that worked well for the team.”
Bartholomew Ogbeche has been in super form scoring 17 goals in as many matches and leading the golden boot race. However, Hyderabad FC had other players who chipped in for the team’s success and that could be the deciding factor in the coming games. “I am very satisfied with the team’s performance. We have 10 players who scored goals in the league. That is crucial,” he added.
He also expects a tough challenge from the ATK Mohun Bagan. “These are the best four teams in the league and it is going to be a tough challenge for all of us,” he concluded.
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