Hyderabad FC will look to extend its domination at the top when it takes on Kerala Blasters FC in an ISL match at the GMC Balayogi Athletics Stadium in Gachibowli on Saturday.
The defending ISL champion occupies the top of the table with 16 points from six games (5 wins, 1 draw) - the joint-best start to the league season in ISL history at this stage of the tournament. Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters FC is in the fifth spot with nine points and has a chance to jump to the third spot if it secures a win against Hyderabad. While Hyderabad FC is yet to lose a game, Kerala has been in indifferent form this season winning three and losing as many.
The Manolo Marquez-coached Hyderabad enters this contest on the back of a 1-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC but Kerala too has the momentum going its way after securing back-to-back victories against NorthEast United FC and FC Goa.
In an away game, Kerala will look to continue its winning run with midfielder Ivan Kaliuzhnyi leading the goal-scorers list this season with four goals. The likes of Dimitrios Diamantakos, Adrian Luna, Sahal Abdul Samad and Rahul KP have all found the back of the net.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, boasts skilled players like Mohammad Yasir, Javi Siverio, Halicharan Narzary, Borja Herrera, Joao Victor and Bartholomew Ogbeche who have exhibited their goal-scoring skills. However, it’s their airtight defence, arguably the best in the league, that has given them an advantage over other teams.
Hyderabad suffered a setback as goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani was stretchered off the field in the game against Jamshedpur and is likely to be ruled out for a considerable period of time.
“We don’t know, it is very early, does not seem good. I prefer to say nothing because if I say something maybe I am wrong. Let’s see. Obviously, he cannot put the foot on the floor, what kind of injury (it is) and for sure he will be out for some games.” HFC Head Coach Manolo Marquez said while providing an update on Kattimani’s injury.
Speaking on his side’s preparations against Kerala, the coach said, “All our games against the Blasters in the last season were close and tough. This match will be no different and we need to be at the top of our game to continue our good run.”
“We know the results have favoured us but there were games where we could have conceded. We have to be better on Saturday against a tough Kerala Blasters side,” the Spaniard added.