Indian Super League: Bengaluru eyes third successive win as Hyderabad test awaits

Both teams have contrasting defensive records, with Bengaluru FC conceding just one goal while bottom-placed Hyderabad FC has let in a league-high 12.

Bengaluru FC players train ahead of the game against Hyderabad FC.   -  Special Arrangement

Bengaluru FC will look to pick up its third win on the trot and provisionally move to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) table when it goes up against Hyderabad FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Thursday.

Sitting in third position with nine points, BFC could leapfrog both Jamshedpur FC and ATK, both of whom have a point more than the Blues.

After registering three draws in its first three matches, BFC defeated Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters to get its ISL title defence back on track.

FOLLOW THE GAME LIVE | Hyderabad FC vs Bengaluru FC (Match 27)

Up next for Carles Cuadrat's men is a Hyderabad side that’s bottom of the table with three points from five matches. And Cuadrat believes it will not be easy game for his side.

"Hyderabad need the points, so it's going to be a tough game for us. Especially after you lose a game in the manner that they did, you want to come back from it and be focused so they are going to be better than they were before," Cuadrat said ahead of the game.

His opposite number Phil Brown did admit that Hyderabad was feeling the pressure but trusts his team to perform.

“We do not deserve to be where we are in the league table. However, if we keep on working hard and put honest performances, things will change. We are feeling the pressure as we are 10th. But all I can ask is that the boys give their 100% while they are representing the club,” said Brown.

The game against the Blues will be challenging for Hyderabad considering both teams' defensive records. The unbeaten Bengaluru side has conceded just one goal and has the most number of clean sheets this season. On the other hand, Hyderabad has conceded a league-high 12 goals in five matches. The fact that a side managed by Brown has failed to keep a clean sheet in ISL so far does not make for a good reading.

Players finding their feet

Bengaluru midfielder Dimas Delgado has found his rhythm in the last two matches with two assists to his name. Skipper Sunil Chhetri, who started the season playing as a left-winger supporting striker Manuel Onwu, scored in the last two games after moving to the more familiar central role.

"When you are one of the best strikers in the country, the team will be reliant on you. Chhetri has scored twice already and he's always getting into good positions and I'm happy with his performances," said the Bengaluru coach.

Hyderabad, which has scored just one goal from open play this season, is reliant on Marcelinho to produce the goods in front of goal. The likes of Bobo, Marko Stankovic and Robin Singh will be expected to step up and deliver with the team desperately looking for three points. The side's only win this season came against Kerala Blasters at home and Brown needs the tables to be turned sooner rather than later.

“We have the utmost respect for Bengaluru. They showed last season what they can do. The consistency of Bengaluru is something great. They are being able to pick the same consistently, the same strike force, but we have not been able to do that yet. We have to find ourselves,” said Brown.

Team news

The Blues will be hoping for Onwu and defender Rahul Bheke to return from injuries after the duo missed the last game against Kerala. However, Cuadrat said that their inclusion will be a late call.

HFC has also struggled with injuries of its own and it managed to field five foreigners only against Chennaiyin FC earlier this week. While most of its players have returned from the sidelines, a key player in doubt is Adil Khan, who picked up an injury while on national duty.

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