Match 109 Preview: Final top-four berth at stake as FC Goa and Hyderabad FC clash
FC Goa and Hyderabad FC lock horns in Match 109 of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) at the Fatorda Stadium in Sunday’s first game. ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United FC have already qualified for the semis and the FC Goa-Hyderabad FC game will decide which will be the fourth team to finish in the top four.
For Hyderabad FC, who have 28 points from 19 games, it’s a must-win game. They can’t afford to drop even a single point as it will signal an exit for them. The Gaurs, with 30 points from 19 games, are better-placed than their opposition and all they need is just one point to qualify. Though it’s highly unlikely that they will play for just one point as they would want to finish as high as possible on the table. A win for them will seal the third place for them ahead of NorthEast United FC (33 points in 20 matches) on the basis of their superior goal difference and set up a semi-final clash against the second-placed team which will be decided by the ATK Mohun Bagan-Mumbai City FC game later in the day.
There is very little to choose between FC Goa and Hyderabad FC. Both teams have been unbeaten for some time now. Juan Ferrando’s FC Goa haven’t lost since December 19 and have been unbeaten in 12 games since then and another unbeaten result will see them set a new Hero ISL record in terms of the longest unbeaten run.
This run indicates the Gaurs are in great form and they are coming into the game on the back of successive victories against Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC. Igor Angulo, Jorge Ortiz, Edu Bedia, Ivan Gonzalez, Alberto Noguera, Ishan Pandita all have had great seasons and expect them to shift into top gear in what definitely is the most important game for them this season.
“FC Goa always play in attack [mode]. If we think that a draw is enough, then we will only draw. We are winning 2 or 3-1 in our games but we want to score more. It is a good challenge for us but I prefer to always play in attack [mode]. We should take minimum risks. They know that they have to win to qualify but we have to win as well," Ferrando said ahead of the game.
Manuel Marquez’s Hyderabad FC too have been unbeaten in their last 11 matches. They have not lost since December 30 and incidentally the defeat came against none other than FC Goa who won the reverse fixture 2-1.
Hyderabad FC, who drew 2-2 with ATK Mohun Bagan in their last game, too have some brilliant foreign imports of their own like Fran Sandaza, Joel Chianese and Odei Onaindia. They are equally blessed with some of the finest domestic talents in the league like Akash Mishra, Liston Colaco and Halicharan Narzary. However, the absence of their top-scorer Aridane Santana due to a suspension could impact the outcome.
"It's like a knockout because the team that wins continues and the other team goes home. It's more or less like a final. What challenge do I expect from FC Goa? FC Goa are 12 and Hyderabad FC are 11 games unbeaten. I'm sure it will be a hard game for both of us," said Marquez ahead of the game.
Since both teams don’t seem to have any real weaknesses as of now, the outcome of the contest may well be decided by who keeps their composure, and deals with pressure better. It’s definitely one of those matches that will have football fans in the country glued to their TV sets from start to finish.
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva, Dheeraj Singh
Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes, Adil Khan
Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Jorge Mendoza, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Glan Martins, Amarjit Singh
Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaokar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chothe
Goalkeepers: Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey, Sankar Roy
Defenders: Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Dimple Bhagat, Kynsailang Khongsit, Nikhil Prabhu, Odei Onaindia, Sahil Panwar
Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Sahil Tavora, Halicharan Narzary, Hitesh Sharma, Joao Victor, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Souvik Chakrabarti, Sweden Fernandes, Roland Alberg
Forwards: Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Ishan Dey, Joel Chianese, Lalawmpuia, Liston Colaco, Rohit Danu
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 109: FC Goa vs Hyderabad FC
Date: February 28 (Sunday)
Time: 5:00 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV