Talking Point: Can Hyderabad hold their own against set-piece specialists Bengaluru?
Bengaluru FC will be looking for their first win of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face Hyderabad FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday. Unlike Bengaluru, Hyderabad have already got their first win of the season and will be hoping to build on their solid start to the campaign with another positive result against the Blues. Beating Bengaluru, though, is easier said than done and Hyderabad will be aware of that. Here are some key factors that could influence the outcome of the contest.
Will Aridane Santana be third time lucky against Bengaluru?
If Hyderabad skipper Aridane Santana can score against Bengaluru then it will most certainly improve their odds of a win. The Spaniard scored the only goal of the match in his side’s win over Odisha and will pose a threat to Blues’ defence having registered six shots in his previous outing – the most by a player in the game. Santana though couldn’t score in both matches against Bengaluru FC last season in Odisha FC colours and will hope that third time’s the charm. He’ll also hope that compatriot Lluis Sastre has a good game to aid Hyderabad’s cause. Sastre made a promising debut in the last game and created six chances.
Bengaluru are a perennial threat from set-pieces
The Blues blew a two-goal lead in their last outing and both the goals they scored came from set-piece like situations. Their strength in this department of the game is a continuation of what they did in 2019-20. Bengaluru scored 13 goals from set-pieces last season and one of those came against Hyderabad. As much as 54.17% of the Blues’ goals came from set-pieces in the previous season and while Hyderabad are a different side in Hero ISL 2020-21, Carles Cuadrat will remind his players that Hyderabad conceded 14 goals from such situations in their debut campaign.
Hyderabad target successive clean sheets
If Hyderabad do manage to keep a clean sheet against Bengaluru then they will keep their unbeaten start to the season intact. They kept their first-ever clean sheet in Hero ISL history against Odisha FC in their last game. Hyderabad, in fact, looked very sound defensively and restricted Odisha to just six shots – the least by any team so far. The six shots that Hyderabad conceded were also the lowest in a game for them in their history. Just three of the six shots they conceded against Odisha came from inside their penalty area and Hyderabad will be looking to continue in a similar vein against Bengaluru.