One team is on top of the table. The other is on an unbeaten run of nine games. Friday’s ISL match between Hyderabad FC and Bengaluru FC at Bambolim’s GMC Athletic Stadium, promises much. Only three points separate the two southern sides.
The Bengaluru men have reasons to believe that the momentum is with them. Their last loss was on December 11, when they went down 1-2 to FC Goa.
Since then, they recorded wins over Chennaiyin FC (twice), Mumbai City, Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur FC and drew the remaining matches as they rallied to climb to the third position. And they won their last three games in a row.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, is smarting from a 1-2 defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan a couple of days ago. Manolo Marquez would want his boys to put that game behind them.
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“We can't win all games in a season,” the coach said. “We lost against a very good side. We now have to be focused against BFC. The fight is still open for a top-four place for many teams."
His counterpart Marco Pezzaiuoli said his team was in a better condition after the quarantine. “We got ten points from the last four games, which has been a good return,” he said. “(Against Hyderabad), we need to be very compact."
The match also brings face to face the two most successful strikers in ISL history -- Bartholomew Ogbeche (Hyderabad) and Sunil Chhetri (Bengaluru). Both are on 49 goals – the Nigerian from 71 matches and the Indian 109.