The strongest comeback often comes when one has their back against the wall, and Hyderabad FC will harbour similar hopes when they take on Mumbai City FC in the latter’s home turf in their Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 fixture on Saturday.

Hyderabad FC have missed out on positive results by slim margins this season and three straight losses have put them on the back foot. This away game against the Islanders could spur them on, given their impressive head-to-head record against the home side,  from which their head coach Thangboi Singto is definitely taking confidence. Mumbai City FC have beaten them only twice in eight face-offs, with four matches ending in a draw and a couple of them in Hyderabad FC’s favour.

For the Islanders, a good start in the ISL has coincided with undesirable results in the mid-week Champions League matches. They have not dropped points so far in the season and will look to pick up all 3 points and go top of the table, where they spent most of last season.

What’s at stake?

Mumbai City FC

Des Buckingham and his men went had an aura of invincibility around them last season, losing only 2 games last season. This time, they were held to a 2-2 draw against Odisha FC and that has been accompanied by hard-fought wins over NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC.

Despite their performances in Asia, the Islanders must be cognizant that they have one of the best rosters in the ISL and hence they are well-placed to repeat their heroics in the Indian top-tier.

Hyderabad FC

The scoreline for Hyderabad FC’s three defeats was 2-1 against East Bengal FC and 1-0 against both Jamshedpur FC and Chennaiyin FC. They are far from being outclassed by their opponents thus far and know that an opportunity for them to strike back is right around the corner. They weren’t razor-sharp in front of the goal in the previous game, but their defensive arrangement was as solid as ever. Positive results will follow provided they start making their goal-scoring chances count with greater consistency.

Key Players

Lalengmawia Ralte (Mumbai City FC)

Apuia's mid-week outing was appreciated for his performance against a star-studded midfield comprising Ruben Neves and Sergej Milinković-Savić of Al-Hilal. The 23-year-old’s sudden shot to stardom has come as he absorbs learning like a sponge, and there are plenty of them that he would have taken away from the team’s last AFC Champions League encounter.

With 91% passing accuracy and one goal in three appearances, Apuia has kicked off the game in style and will look to build on those performances against Hyderabad.

Aaren D’Silva (Hyderabad FC)

Aaren D’Silva was always in the thereabouts of scoring the equaliser against Chennaiyin FC, but it was not to be. Either his passes were overweight, or his shot went off target, but D’Silva’s industriousness and constant search for a goal will hold him in good stead against the Islanders. Knocking the door continuously opens up new pathways eventually and hence the 25-year-old cannot afford to let his guards down just yet.

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Played – 8

Mumbai City FC – 2

Hyderabad FC – 2

Draws – 4

Trivia: Three of the last five games between these two sides have resulted in a draw.

Team Talk

“We have had a strong start to the season with two wins and a draw. We have put ourselves in a strong position to pick up from where we left off last year. We have to be mindful that Hyderabad is a different team than they were last year, similar to us, they have had changes. But they have played very well in the three games they have played so far. We are just looking forward to playing in front of our home fans and trying to pick up where we left off,” Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham said prior to the match.

“Well, we can see that Mumbai is a good team. But, if you see the history and the stats, it’s even-steven. We, as much as possible, would like to forget the last three matches and go forward. I know Mumbai will be confident that they are a good team. We have come up again as a team after going down. The training has been good and the boys are responding well,” Hyderabad FC tactician Thangboi Singto said in the pre-match press conference. 

Where to Watch

Viacom18 is the new home of Indian football and the match between Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC will kick off at 8 PM on October 28, 2023. Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 SD & HD (English), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), DD Bangla & Colors Bangla Cinema (Bengali). In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.

ISL Fantasy

Top picks and players to watch out for

Jorge Pereyra Diaz (9.1cr)

Has struck four goals in three ISL appearances this season.

Lalengmawia Ralte (5.6cr)

Impressive outputs on both the defensive and offensive aspects of the game.

Joe Knowles (6.2cr)

The Australian has been a constant source of creativity in the final third for Hyderabad FC.

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