Hyderabad FC face Jamshedpur in a crunch clash

Panaji: Having picked up just two points from their last two Indian Super League games, Hyderabad FC will look to go a step further when they face Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC in a Round-13 encounter, at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, on Sunday.

Stephen Eze’s late stunner earned a point for the Red Miners the last time these two sides met in the league, back in early December. And with just four points separating both teams in the league table at the moment, there could be another close encounter on the cards this weekend.

“This is another difficult fixture for us, especially after the close game we had earlier in the season,” said HFC Head Coach Manolo Marquez, speaking about his next opponents.

“They have a strong team and a Coach that made it to the final last season. Jamshedpur, like us, are fighting for a place in the top-4 and have also made a couple of signings. And after three defeats, I expect them to come prepared for the game on Sunday,” he added.

Coyle’s side have lost four of their last five games but are just a couple of positive results away from breaking into the top-4. The likes of Nerijus Valskis, the club’s top goal scorer, Stephen Eze, Aitor Monroy, Peter Hartley, Alex Lima and Laldinliana Renthlei have all been impressive in patches and can win games on their own.

Speaking about the quality in the opposition ranks, Manolo said, “Valskis is probably the most complete striker in the league. His team look to play to his strengths and have the quality to beat most sides in the league on their day. So, we will have to be at our best in this game.”

The Spaniard, on the other hand, has an in-form Halicharan Narzary and Liston Colaco to add to an impressive attack and a secured backline. The likes of Lluis Sastre, Hitesh Sharma and even Chinglensana Singh from the back are good at keeping the ball rolling and controlling the tempo of the game and Manolo will hope that his side can play their natural game and dominate the opponents.

Going into this early kick-off on Sunday, Hyderabad could be boosted by the return of Joel Chianese and Fran Sandaza. “(Nikhil) Poojary and Joao (Victor) are both still out injured along with Souvik Chakrabarti, who is out for personal reasons. But everyone else is available,” said Manolo, speaking about the team news.

Jamshedpur have not picked up a point in the three games they have played since the turn of the year. On the other hand, Hyderabad have picked up eight from their four league games and will look to continue the good run in this tie.

Assessing the pressure going into the game, Manolo expressed that his side are not too concerned about the points table. “We know any result in this game, considering how close the race to the top-4 is, will be great for the statistics and casual conversations; but we do not want to think about these things at the moment. All I can say, is that we are working hard and will fight till the very end, in every single time.”

The game kicks off at 5:00 pm on Sunday and will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network with live streaming on Disney+ Hotstar and JioTV.