ISL 2022-23: Hyderabad FC look to keep pace at the top as Chennaiyin FC aim to close in on playoffs
Two points separate Hyderabad FC and table-toppers Mumbai City FC as the former gets set to host Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Thursday.
Table-toppers Mumbai City FC and Hyderabad FC are separated by two points as the former prepares to meet Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 on Thursday at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium.
The Marina Machans want to close the distance between themselves and the final playoff berth to only one point while the defending champions still chase the Islanders.
Hyderabad FC beat FC Goa 3-0 in the opening week of the new year to extend their winning streak to five games. The defending champions are in excellent form, as they have only given up three goals while scoring 17 in their last five games.
The fact that Bartholomew Ogbeche, his star striker, is finally performing at his best will please head coach Manolo Marquez. The 38-year-old defeated the Gaurs to earn his first hat trick of the year and fourth overall, making him the ISL player with the most hat tricks.
The Nigerian is only two goals behind this season's top scorers, Cleiton Silva and Jorge Diaz, with six goals in 13 games. Halicharan Narzary, a winger, has also demonstrated signs of consistency; this week, he added a sixth assist to his total.
"Chennaiyin is a very good team and they are in a position where they need to win because they are close to sixth place with a game in hand. They like to take risks and I like their style," said Marquez. "In the first half of the season, we missed his [Ogbeche's] goals. Now it is similar to the form we were in last season. After lots of narrow 1-0 wins, we are more clinical," he added.
Last week, Chennaiyin FC defeated Jamshedpur FC in a thrilling match by rallying from two goals down to snag a crucial point. The Marina Machans are into this match on a three-game losing streak with two draws and one tie.
In the most recent game, Chennaiyin FC's Vincy Barretto scored to make it 1-1 before Petar Sliskovic equalised with his sixth goal of the year. While Chennaiyin FC are currently only four points behind FC Goa with a game still to play, a win last week would have moved them closer to the final playoff berth by two points.
After serving his suspension against FC Goa, head coach Thomas Brdaric will be back in the coaching area for the following game. Abdenasser El Khayati, a vital player who is still healing from an injury, won't be available.
“We bounced back in a pretty good way, but now we have checked off that match [against JFC] and are preparing for the game against Hyderabad. It will be a tough one, but the team will be prepared for the challenge,” said Brdaric. “We have some situations to solve. Nasser [El Khayati] is back in Chennai and still recovering. We miss him, but my focus is on the players that are here,” he added.
When the two sides met earlier this season at the Marina Arena, Hyderabad FC registered a 3-1 win. Including that fixture, the two sides have met seven times in the Hero ISL. Both have won three games each, and only one game has ended in a stalemate.