Bengaluru FC are on the road to Hyderabad where Carles Cuadrat’s side will look to make it three wins on the spin and provisionally move to the top of the table as they take on bottom-placed Hyderabad FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Friday.
However, Cuadrat reckons the game against a struggling Hyderabad side won’t be an easy one given that they will look to use home comforts to spark a turnaround they desperately need after four defeats from five games. “Hyderabad need the points, so it’s going to be a tough game for us. Especially after they lost the game against Chennaiyin, and looking at the manner in which they did, they would want to come back from it. They will look to be more focused and do better than they have done before.”
Sitting in third position with nine points, Bengaluru could leapfrog both Jamshedpur and ATK who both have a point more than the Blues.
Bengaluru began their season with three straight draws and found themselves in rather unfamiliar territory in the bottom half of the table. However, wins against Chennaiyin and Kerala Blasters have put a spring in the stride of the defending champions who will be keen to build on the momentum. “Every football game, for me, is like a game of chess. You have to think about a plan, you have to explain that to the players, then you have to make sure things go right. There’s a lot of work that we put in while preparing for each game, and that’s how we’ve managed to get results, said Cuadrat, while addressing the media.
On the team news front, the Blues will hope for striker Manuel Onwu and defender Rahul Bheke to return from injuries after the duo missed the last game against Kerala. However, Cuadrat said that their inclusion will be a late call.
The home side have also struggled with injuries of their own and it was only in the fifth-round game against Chennaiyin FC that they managed to field a side with five foreigners. While most of their players have returned from the sidelines, a key player in doubt is Adil Khan, after he picked up an injury while on national duty.
Both sides come into the game on the back of contrasting defensive performances. The Blues currently have the best defence in the league and have let in just one goal, while the hosts have conceded 12 goals, the most this season with no clean sheets so far. On the other end of their formations, both sides have scored goals lately with Sunil Chhetri and Marcelinho leading the charts with two goals for each side.
“When you are one of the best strikers in the country, you have to contribute a lot to the team and the team will be reliant on you. Chhetri has scored twice already and he’s always getting into good positions and I’m happy with his performances. We’ve had more players who got close chances in the last few games, with Erik, Udanta and Semboi getting on the score sheet as well. So, it’s important to create chances as a team and not just rely on one player,” added Cuadrat stressing on the importance of creating chances.
The game kicks off at 7.30 pm on Friday and will be Live on the Star Sports Network and Hotstar.