Hyderabad, December 20: Bottom-placed Hyderabad FC face a daunting task as ATK visit them for a Hero Indian Super League clash at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium here on Saturday (December 21).
Hyderabad FC are in desperate need for an upturn in form. The debutants have just four points from eight games. More concerningly, Phil Brown's team have just one point to show for their efforts from their last five matches.
Their opponents ATK, on the other hand, are third on the table with 14 points from eight matches and could possibly go top of the table with a victory on Saturday.
But Hyderabad, who have just one win so far, need to put behind the demons from their previous clash earlier this season when Antonio Habas' side thumped them 5-0.
"I think if we look at the first game, we were humiliated that day. As a coach, I will never want that to happen again. That day we weren't good enough with and without the ball. But now with eight or nine games down the line, we are a different team. We have a different thought process," said Brown.
Strikingly, Hyderabad have the worst defence this season - conceding 17 goals from eight games - while ATK have the best attack which has pumped in 16 goals. The Hyderabad defence, which is yet to keep a clean sheet this season, will brace themselves for a tough night against the likes of Roy Krishna and David Williams.
But it is not just the defence that has troubled Hyderabad this season. Their attack has contributed just seven goals - the second-worst record after Chennaiyin FC (5). But more importantly, they have scored just three goals at home. They have also never scored first in any of their matches so far - the only team in the league to do so.
"If you consider the league table it is a concern where we are. But we are hoping that in the second half of the season we will do something about it. And that is probably one of the main reasons Nestor (Gordillo) is being put in front and is available for his first game of the season. Now that I have my best players available, hopefully in the second half of the season, we will get more positive results," said a hopeful Brown.
The Kolkata-based club have no such issues, with their forwards scoring almost at will. Moreover, the team will be smarting after a 1-2 loss to FC Goa in their previous match and will want to get back to winning ways.
"Three points against Hyderabad is very important. The Goa game is in the past for me. The match will be very very difficult. Hyderabad have good players and a good coach. They are waiting for this game for nine days. In this league, all matches are very competitive. A small decision or a small mistake will turn the scoreline," said Habas.
Habas' side, which is very organised, can wreak havoc in the opposition ranks with their counter-attacks. The pace of Roy Krishna, Williams, Michael Soosairaj and Prabir Das will come in handy, but more importantly, they have creativity in midfield with the likes of Javi Hernandez and Edu Garcia impressing.
The odds might be stacked against Hyderabad FC but the home side will surely look to give ATK a run for their money.
Source: ISL Media