Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions Hyderabad FC will look to become the third team from the league to enter the semi-finals as they face Rajasthan United in the quarter-finals of the Durand Cup 2022 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Monday.

Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC have already qualified for the semi-finals alongside I-League side Mohammedan SC.

Hyderabad FC have been in fine form in the Durand Cup winning three out of the four games. They suffered a defeat in their final group game but it didn’t stop them from topping the charts in Group C.

Coach Manuel Marquez was not reading too much into that loss, however, when he said at the pre-match press conference, “We understand that now we are champions and every team will play hard with us. The Army Red team also played like they were playing the world cup final and they played well. We played against all first teams in Imphal unlike the other groups and played well. It was a very good experience in Imphal to see that football is more important than cricket.”

Hyderabad won their first three games in Group C against local sides TRAU FC and Neroca FC as well as fellow ISL side Chennaiyin FC very comfortably, to qualify as group toppers before being off-colour with their finishing in the final Army Red game. They have a solid defence with players like Sana Singh and Akash Mishra also doubling up as attacking wing-backs and in Bartholomew Ogbeche, they have a game-killer.

RUFC on the other hand have shown that they are organised and can play to a plan. They sure can be overwhelmed by a quality side as against Mumbai City FC but can surprise any side on their off-day, as they did to ATK Mohun Bagan, all in the group stages. In their win against the Indian Navy in the final group game, they have shown that they are mentally strong for big games and know how to put it across in those games. Facts which were also acknowledged by Marquez in the pre-match presser.

They also have players who are growing in stature with every game. Names like Melroy Assisi and Gyanmar Nikum have caught the eye and foreigners like Martin Chavez and Sergio Barboza are also making themselves count spectacularly at times.

Coach Pushpender Kundu was oozing confidence in the presser ahead of the club’s biggest game ever saying, “We will give it a good shot tomorrow. We have done our studies on the Hyderabad players and will try and execute our plans accordingly.”

Hyderabad FC will start as favourites but they will be wary of the threat posed by Rajasthan United who have shown they have the ability to pull off an upset win.

Hyderabad FC’s match against Rajasthan United will be shown LIVE on Sports18, Sports18 HD and Sports18 Khel.