A lot of footballing action is expected to happen as two of the most accomplished sides of Indian Super League – defending champion Hyderabad FC and ATK Mohun Bagan – renew their rivalry in the matchweek-8 of the country’s top league, at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday.
The contest assumes significance as the Mariners will be looking to avenge the semifinal play-off defeat to yellow brigade, which saw its exit from the league last season. Host ATKMB – will also be looking to rebound back after losing its previous match (0-3) while visiting FC Goa last week. With a strong opponent threatening to upset its plans, ATKMB will be finding it difficult in the absence of the midfield powerhouse Joni Kauko, who will be out for a long time owing to a knee injury suffered against Goa.
“We are thinking of the present and the next match. The most important thing now is the game against Hyderabad. It’s a new opportunity to take three points, and we will be ready for it,” ATKMB coach Juan Ferrando.
Hyderabad FC, which will be missing its trusted goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani owing to injury, will also be trying to return to winning ways after having suffered its first loss of the season against Kerala Blasters (0-1) at home last week. “I expect a very difficult game.
They have quality foreign players and quite a few young Indian players who are already a part of the national team,” said Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez. “It will be a very difficult game for us and also for them because, in this league, any team can beat you. It can be a good game between two good teams. Let’s see what happens,” he added.
The head-to-head record between the two opponents finds ATKMB enjoying the edge. The Mariners have won thrice while Hyderabad has won only once (in the play-offs last season). The remaining four matches have ended in draws.
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