Match 5 Preview: Marquez's Hyderabad FC take on revamped Chennaiyin FC
Hyderabad FC will be kicking off their campaign in the eighth edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) when they take on two-time champions Chennaiyin FC on Tuesday at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim.
Hyderabad FC would be eyeing a top-four finish this time around, after they narrowly missed out on it in the previous season and Chennaiyin FC would be aiming to brush aside last season’s disappointments and challenge for the title again in 2021-22.
Manolo Marquez had a telling impact on the Nizams’ performance, as the gaffer took charge of the club ahead of the 2020-21 season, and facilitated a turnaround for them, after an underwhelming season in 2019-20 that saw them finish at the bottom of the table. They amassed 29 points last season, which was a mere two points less than fourth-placed FC Goa. The side had the joint highest draws in the league last season with 11 draws and they’d be looking to convert those results into wins in the upcoming season.
Csaba Laszlo was tasked with leading the Marina Machans in the 2020-21 season. His side failed to replicate their 2019-20 season’s performance, slumping to an eighth-place finish in the table with just 20 points. Although they were relatively solid in defence, they struggled in the final third, managing just 17 goals, which was the lowest in the league. Chennaiyin played out 11 draws, too, which was the joint highest in the league.
With the acquisition of players like Juanan, Bartholomew Ogbeche, and Edu Garcia, Hyderabad FC have added experience to their ranks. All three three of these marquee signings have previously won the Hero ISL, and they’ll be instrumental in instilling a winning mentality in the dressing room. Apart from that, the club has retained its core group of players, most of whom are emerging talents.
The Marina Machans have opted for an overhaul of their squad, only retaining Rafael Crivellaro out of all their foreign talents. Most of their overseas recruits have played in Europe at some point in their career, and that could be useful both on and off the pitch. They’ve also reinforced their backline by roping in domestic players like Narayan Das, Salam Ranjan Singh, and Davinder Singh.
Rafael Crivellaro and Germanpreet Singh may miss out on the action against Hyderabad FC, as they are both recovering from injuries.
Head to Head Record
The two sides have cancelled each other out in their overall head-to-head battle, having won two games each in the four games that they have contested thus far in the Hero ISL. Chennaiyin FC piled on to Hyderabad FC’s misery back in the 2019-20 season, as they took home all three points on both occasions. The Nizams struck back in the 2020-21 season registering comfortable wins over Chennaiyin FC in their home and away fixtures.
Hyderabad FC - Bartholomew Ogbeche
The Nigerian marksman is one of the most experienced foreigners to be playing in the Hero ISL, and he is set to embark on his fourth season in the competition. The former Paris Saint-Germain player is currently the third-highest goalscorer in the history of the Hero ISL with a tally of 35 goals. His familiarity with Indian conditions and players, along with his clinical finishing make him a valuable asset for the Nizams.
Chennaiyin FC - Anirudh Thapa
Although a minor injury restricted the midfielder from featuring regularly in the previous edition, the potential and brilliance Thapa has shown over the years has made him a core member of the Chennaiyin FC outfit, being handed the skipper’s armband ahead of the upcoming season.
The Indian national team player has made 69 appearances in his Chennaiyin FC career, being a central figure in his side’s title-winning 2017-18 campaign and their run to the Hero ISL final in the 2019-20 season. With 9 assists, he is the club’s joint-highest assist provider, tied with Rafael Crivellaro
Ogbeche’s record against Chennaiyin: The Hyderabad FC forward has scored nine goals in six appearances against Chennaiyin FC, which is the most he has scored against any club in the Hero ISL.
Hyderabad’s offensive full-backs: Asish Rai and Akash Mishra topped the list for most successful take-ons by defenders in the 2020-21 Hero ISL, having completed 24 and 21 respectively.
Chennaiyin’s woes at Bambolim: The Marina Machans salvaged just a solitary win in the 13 games they played at the venue last season while drawing eight games and losing four games.
Match timings and Telecast Details
Match: Hyderabad FC vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: 23rd November
Venue: GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim, Goa
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm
Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 3, Hindi Commentary on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu
Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.