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FC Goa seek home advantage to break through against strong Hyderabad FC defence

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FC Goa host Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Thursday, in Matchweek 14 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Hyderabad FC are currently two points behind league leaders Mumbai City FC with 28 points, whereas FC Goa are sitting in fifth place with 19 points.

Hyderabad FC had the best attacking record in the league last season with 43 goals but haven’t been as free-scoring this season. However, their defensive record has ensured that this hasn’t affected them adversely. They’ve only conceded seven goals in 12 games, which bodes well for this game and the rest of their season. 

Bartholomew Ogbeche, the top goalscorer in Hero ISL history, hasn’t been the force of previous seasons, with just three goals so far. Javier Siverio has chipped in with four goals, while the duo of Halicharan Narzary and Mohammad Yasir have seven assists between them.

Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez acknowledged that his side weren’t at their best in the last meeting between the two sides in his pre-match press conference. “We know perfectly that we have to play a very good game. Win or lose or draw – sometimes it’s about details – but we at least have to have a good performance,” he said.

FC Goa, on the other hand, have dropped points in their last two games. They needed a late goal in a 2-2 draw against Jamshedpur FC and couldn’t pick themselves up in a 2-1 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the following week. Wins in either of those games would have seen them pull away from Odisha FC in sixth place, who have one point from their last four games, but FC Goa currently find themselves level in fifth place. 

Iker Guarrotxena and Noah Sadaoui have impressed this season with five goals each, but too much has been asked of them going forward. Centre-forward Alvaro Vazquez has managed just one goal so far this season. They have though, enjoyed a high share of possession in most games but haven’t been able to turn that into dominance up front.

FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena wasn’t too worried about his side’s inconsistencies when speaking in the pre-match press conference. “We need to think of where we came from. You know, in the last season, this team finished in the 9th position. It’s difficult to build a winning mentality. We have improved a lot of things from the start of the season. The competitiveness is recognizable everywhere in the team,” he said.

The two sides have met on seven occasions. FC Goa have got the better head-to-head record, with three wins, two losses, and two draws. When the two sides met in October, Hyderabad FC got a 13th-minute goal thanks to Javier Siverio and held on to the lead to win 1-0.