Reaching finals would be an incredible success for the fans, city: Hyderabad FC’s Manuel Marquez

Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez had nothing but praise for his squad as they braved the ATK Mohun Bagan test in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) second semi-finals first-leg at the Athletic Stadium on Saturday.

Hyderabad were trailing behind after Roy Krishna’s early goal in the 18th minute. However, it was the showman Bartholomew Ogbeche who restored parity and brought the game to its knees. Then, Yasir Mohammad’s first Hero ISL goal, followed by Javier Siverio’s strike ensured a 3-1 lead.

With this Hyderabad FC have consolidated a solid foundation for the second leg of the clash that will take place on March 16 at the Athletic Stadium, Bambolim.

Marquez addressed the media after the game in the post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference:

What does a win mean after coming from behind and what does it do to the team’s mentality ahead of the second leg?

It is true after ninety minutes that it is 3-1 for us but there is a second-leg. Ninety minutes more against one team that has very good players. If you look at the bench of ATK Mohun Bagan, you can be scared because there are a lot of good international players. Now we have ninety minutes that we have to keep playing, not in the same way because, in the first half, we didn’t play a good game. But more or less in the second half, we played well. We were very clinical in set-pieces today.

Hyderabad FC have performed well in the previous two matches, against all odds. Your comment on that?

We are in a historical season for Hyderabad. We finished second in the regular season, let’s see what happens in the second leg but at least we won one game in the semi-final. Let’s see if we can qualify for the finals that would be an incredible success, not only for the team but for the fans, for the city. Hyderabad as a city needs one thing like this.

How does Siverio fit in the squad with the availability of Bartholomew Ogbeche?

We didn’t have Joel, he was injured. Then, in three offensive players, we decided if we didn’t have Joel, we would play Bart and Javier. At the beginning of the season, the positioning was not good, there was too much space between the mid-fielders and the forwards. When Bart recovered his position, then in some moments we played very well. The most important thing was when we did not play well, more or less, we were safe with the positioning of the team.

Is there a possibility for Asish Rai to return for the second leg?

He is still with Covid in our bubble. He is the 29th player in our squad to have or had Covid. I don’t think he can arrive for the second game. Even in the last game, against Mumbai City FC, and today because Juan put a lot of offensive players, this for me is incredible. I have only good words for my players. It is impossible to speak badly.

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