Talking Point: Will Hyderabad’s domestic talents get the better of SC East Bengal’s defence?

Hyderabad FC will be looking for a second victory of the season when they take on SC East Bengal in Match 29 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. With three draws and one win in their first four matches, Manuel Marquez’s team are unbeaten in the league but will need to be more clinical up front against a winless SC East Bengal side that earned their first point of the campaign in their last outing. Here we assess some of the talking points from the upcoming fixture.

Matti Steinmann has been integral to SC East Bengal’s midfield

After a slow start to the campaign, SC East Bengal showed great determination against Jamshedpur in their previous outing to earn a hard-fought point. One of their most consistent performers so far has been German midfielder Matti Steinmann. In four matches for the Kolkata-based club, Steinmann has attempted 15 tackles, and nine of those have been successful. An astute reader of the game, he has made the most recoveries for his team (21) as well as seven interceptions. However, Steinmann’s prowess with the ball at his feet isn’t limited to just defending. He has made 64 forward passes which is the second most by an SC East Bengal player and could be key when it comes to carving opening the Hyderabad defence.

Hyderabad FC’s foreign attacking talents are injury doubts

In their previous encounter against ATK Mohun Bagan, Hyderabad FC played with only two foreigners, Odei Onaindia and Joao Victor. Aridane Santana, Lluis Sastre and Joel Chianese were sidelined due to injuries while Spaniard Fran Sandaza is yet to feature this season. Hyderabad have shown defensive solidity but are lacking the quality to convert their chances into goals in the absence of some of their foreign recruits. A young Hyderabad side managed only two shots on target against the Mariners. Having scored just one goal from open play this season, Hyderabad’s Indian attackers will need to rise to the challenge if the Telangana-based club want to turn draws into wins.

In Daniel Fox’s absence, Mohamed Irshad has stepped up

Mohamed Irshad has performed well in SC East Bengal’s defence after missing out on a starting berth in the Kolkata Derby against ATK Mohun Bagan. Following an injury to Daniel Fox, Irshad has been one of SC East Bengal’s best defenders and this was highlighted by a Hero of the Match performance from him against Jamshedpur FC. Irshad helped 10-man SC East Bengal to a goalless draw against Jamshedpur and aided the Kolkata giants to their first point of the season. He made four clearances and three successful interceptions to help his team keep their first clean sheet of the season last time around. In total, Irshad has eight interceptions and 13 clearances for Robbie Fowler’s team in Hero ISL 2020-21.

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