Hyderabad FC come into ISL 7 on the back of a shabby debut campaign as they finished at the bottom of the table in 2019-20. The Nizams, who made their debut in the Indian top-flight last term replacing the now-defunct FC Pune City, registered just two wins and accumulated only ten points in their 18 outings.
The Nizams had the league’s worst defense, conceding 39 goals. To make matters worse, they also had the competition’s second-worst attack as they scored just 21. Coach Phil Brown was sacked halfway through the 2019-20 campaign and Xavier Lopez took charge of Hyderabad FC but their fortunes hardly ever improved as they failed to seal a play-off spot.
Stung by the reversals in their debut campaign, Hyderabad FC appointed former Bengaluru FC gaffer Albert Roca as their manager. Things were starting to fall into place until Roca terminated his contract to link up with Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, leaving the Hyderabad FC to rebuild halfway. They eventually roped in fellow Spaniard Manuel Marquez Roca to replace Albert Roca.
Without further ado, here's all you need to know about Hyderabad FC ahead of ISL 2020-21.
Coach: Manuel Marquez Roca
Manuel Marquez's focus will be on rebuilding a team that was in shambles at the end of the 2019-20 season. The Catalan is vastly experienced, having coached for over 15 years in the lower tiers of Spanish football. He steered Las Palmas B to promotion in 2016. Marquez would want his team to dominate possession and play an expansive brand of football.
In: Halicharan Narzary, Lalawmpuia, Sweden Fernandes, Fran Sandaza, Joel Chianese, Odei Onaindia, Aridane Santana, Lluis Sastre, Chinglensana Singh, Joao Victor, Subrata Paul, Akash Mishra, Nikhil Prabhu
Out: Keenan Almeida, Bobo, Marcelinho, Abhash Thapa, Kunzung Bhutia, Gani Nigam, Matthew Kilgallon, Kamaljit Singh, Marko Stankovic, Gurtej Singh, Rohit Kumar, Rafa Lopez, Giles Barnes, Robin Singh, Shankar Sampingiraj
With three quality foreign imports in the attack, Hyderabad FC’s strength certainly lies in this department. Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, and Joel Chianese have a great proven track record. If provided uninterrupted supply, the trio can wreak havoc in the opposition's box. Spaniard Lluis Sastre, who will be pulling the strings at the center of the park, can provide ample supply to the attackers.
They are also well stacked in the goalkeeping department, having drafted the seasoned Subrata Paul and the dependable Laxmikant Kattimani. Odei Onaindia will lead the backline and his excellence in aerial battles will be an added advantage for Hyderabad.
Young Indian prodigy Liston Colaco, who was Hyderabad FC's shining light in a disastrous debut season, has been retained. The promising duo of Hitesh Sharma and Nikhil Poojary will offer Marquez great options.
Adil Khan has been a revelation in national colors and Hyderabad FC fans will be hoping that the versatile Goan extends his fine run of form into ISL.
Hyderabad have impressed in the pre-season by beating FC Goa and by playing out a draw with Bengaluru FC.
Going with just six foreign players could come back to haunt Hyderabad FC as they will have to rely heavily on their inexperienced Indian contingent. Despite conceding an abysmal 39 goals, the Nizams have brought in just a solitary foreign defender and are certainly short on quality in the backline. Domestic defenders will have to punch above their weight to shore up Hyderabad FC's defense.
Poor finishing upfront also cost Hyderabad dearly last time as they netted just 21 goals. With a lately assembled set-up, the team chemistry and coordination remain in jeopardy.
Player to watch out for: Adil Khan
The versatile midfielder offers plenty of flexibility to Hyderabad FC as he can seamlessly slot into central defense, if required. He will most probably be deployed in defense by Marquez given Hyderabad’s lack of quantity and quality in the back-line. He is also proficient on set-pieces and his leadership qualities will be handy in a relatively inexperienced dressing room.
Goalkeepers: Lalbhiakhlua Jongte, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey, Subrata Paul
Defenders: Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Dimple Bhagat, Nikhil Prabhu, Odej Onaindia, Kynsailang Khongsit, Sahil Panwar
Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Adil Khan, Sahil Tavora, Halicharan Narzary, Hitesh Sharma, Joao Victor, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Souvik Chakrabarti, Sweden Fernandes
Forwards: Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Ishan Dey, Joel Chianese, Lalawmpuia, Liston Colaco, Rohit Danu Best Players Adil Khan Fran Sandaza Lluis Sastre Chinglensana Singh
Hyderabad FC Fixtures till Round 10
The Nizams will kickstart their ISL campaign against Odisha FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on November 23.
Here are their fixtures till Round 10:
November 23: Odisha FC vs Hyderabad FC
November 28: Bengaluru FC vs Hyderabad FC
December 2: Hyderabad FC vs Jamshedpur FC
December 11: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Hyderabad FC
December 15: Hyderabad FC vs SC East Bengal
December 20: Hyderabad FC vs Mumbai City FC
December 27: Kerala Blasters FC vs Hyderabad FC
December 30: Hyderabad FC vs FC Goa
January 4: Chennaiyin FC vs Hyderabad FC
January 8: NorthEast United FC vs Hyderabad FC
(All matches will kick off at 7.30 PM IST)
With an uncharacteristic build, a second successive bottom half finish looks very likely for them with many superior sides in the league.Published 20 Nov 2020, 12:16 IST