Match 40 Preview: Hyderabad FC look to return to winning ways against winless Kerala Blasters FC

After suffering their first defeat of the season in their last game against Mumbai City FC, Hyderabad FC will hope to bounce back against Kerala Blasters FC in Match 40 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Sunday. Meanwhile, the club from Kochi are yet to register a win this season after six games and will hope to pick up their first three points of the season.  

Although Kerala Blasters have kept just one clean sheet this season, their best player has been their goalkeeper Albino Gomes. The custodian is joint second for most saves this season (17) and has also saved two penalties for Kibu Vicuna’s side.

The Spaniard’s main concern, however, will be his team’s inability to create chances. Kerala Blasters have managed only 54 shots in Hero ISL 2020-21 and have created only 7.17 chances per match this season.

“Every game is difficult. Hyderabad played well in their last match. It is a tough challenge but we are training well. We are improving and taking steps forward. I am confident we are going to play a good match,” Kerala head coach Vicuna said ahead of the game.

Kerala, however, have scored four goals in their last three matches, and have a strong conversion rate of 11.11 shots per goal this season, only behind Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC. Their main striker Gary Hooper, with just one goal in six games, is yet to find his goal-scoring consistency but against a fragile Hyderabad defence that has failed to keep a clean sheet in last four of their six matches so far, the striker will back himself to come good and add to his tally.

Hyderabad’s defence have conceded five of their total six goals in their last three matches. Hyderabad custodian Subrata Paul has faced close to four shots on target per match in their last three matches. In total contrast, Manuel Marquez's side faced only 1.7 shots on target in their opening three fixtures.

The match will also see Hyderabad’s Halicharan Narzary take the field against his former side. Narzary, who scored against SC East Bengal earlier this month, has established himself as a fixture for Hyderabad this season and will undoubtedly be extra-motivated against the Blasters.

 “Kerala are a very good team. Their first game [against ATK Mohun Bagan], they did not deserve to lose. They equalised late in their last game. They deserve more points than they have. They have great players. It will be an equal game and they are a very good team,” Hyderabad head coach Marquez said ahead of the game.

Squads:

Kerala Blasters FC

Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan.

Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara

Midfielders: Sergio Cidoncha, Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Nongdamba Naorem, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar

Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan.

Hyderabad FC

Goalkeepers: Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey, Subrata Paul

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Dimple Bhagat, Kynsailang Khongsit, Nikhil Prabhu, Odei Onaindia, Sahil Panwar

Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Adil Khan, Sahil Tavora, Halicharan Narzary, Hitesh Sharma, Joao Victor, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Souvik Chakrabarti, Sweden Fernandes

Forwards: Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Ishan Dey, Joel Chianese, Lalawmpuia, Liston Colaco, Rohit Danu

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 40: Kerala Blasters FC vs Hyderabad FC

Date: December 27 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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