Talking Point: Can Mumbai City’s resolute defence stop Hyderabad’s rampant attack?

Match 60 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 promises to be a riveting fixture as Mumbai City FC square off against Hyderabad FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. The Islanders can open an eight-point gap at the top of the table with a win over Hyderabad and they will back themselves to secure maximum points having already beaten them earlier this season. Manuel Marquez’s men, meanwhile, will be confident in their own ability and will head into the contest on the back of consecutive wins that saw them score four times in each match. Here, we have a closer look at some of the factors that could determine which way the tide turns when the two sides meet.

Hyderabad’s attack blossoming

Hyderabad’s attack looked strong and effective in their last two outings, which saw them four goals against both Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United FC. Only FC Goa (16) and Mumbai City (17) have scored more times than Hyderabad (15) this season and it will be interesting to see how Marquez’s men fare against an Islanders team that also prides themselves on their attack, while being defensively sound. Joel Chianese’s involvement in Hyderabad’s attack has had a positive impact on the team and the Australian, who has two goals and an assist in his last two games, will have a big role to play against Mumbai City.

Mumbai City’s watertight defence

While a lot has been said about Mumbai City’s flamboyant and free-flowing attack, their defensive prowess has quietly gone under the radar. The 1-0 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in their last match was the Islanders’ sixth clean sheet of the season. Mumbai City, in fact, have conceded just four times all campaign – the joint lowest in the league – and have faced only 24 shots on target so far. The experience of Hernan Santana and Mourtada Fall seems to have brought stability to their backline and the duo will need to be on top of their game against a buoyant Hyderabad attack.

Indian players from Hyderabad shine

Hyderabad’s domestic contingent are enjoying a solid season so far whether it’s in attack or defence. Their domestic players have more goal contributions (12) than Indian players from any other team so far and they’ve also taken the most shots (92). Halicharan Narzary is enjoying one of his best campaigns in terms of goal-scoring having netted thrice and Liston Colaco has been the biggest game-changer as he demonstrated by coming off the bench to score twice and help his team beat NorthEast in Hyderabad’s last outing. The likes of Akash Mishra, Asish Rai and Mohammed Yasir have also chipped in with five assists collectively.

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