Great teams are characterised also by how well they bounce back. It will be a test of character and discipline when Bengaluru FC face Hyderabad FC at Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Saturday. In their previous game, the Blues squandered a two-goal lead to share the spoils against FC Goa. They cannot afford their opponents such luxury while in full control of the game.
Since that result, they had six days to evaluate their performance and more importantly, work on the fitness of players, who had a short pre-season. "We are training hard and we have a calendar that allowed us to prepare for six more days. Some of the players had been training for two weeks and now they have three weeks. We are fitter. The mood in the training camp is also positive,” said Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat, who added that his team has a different plan for Hyderabad.
With the number of quality players and their ISL experience, Bengaluru, at least on paper, should start as favourites. They look strong in all departments. If Sunil Chhetri is one of their key attackers, the likes of Erik Paartalu and Juanan in midfield and defence, respectively, have established themselves as key players for the club.
Add new signing Cleiton Silva, who scored on his debut, Kristian Ospeth and others in the mix alongside a tactical coach like Cuadrat, it appears to be a matter of time before they get their A game going. It will be interesting to see if influential midfielder Dimas Delgado, who did not start the last game, will be included in the XI.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, come into this game with a spring in their steps. They came up with a dominant performance to win three points against Odisha FC and had a clean sheet to show for their defensive efforts as well. That backline will be tested by the Bengaluru forwards.
"That win (against Odisha) gives us a lot of confidence. Teams with confidence play better. Even if you don't play a good game, victories give confidence to the team and players. For me, every game is hard. Till now, of the seven games, there have been five with a one-goal difference and two draws. It is a sign that it is very difficult to win by a comfortable margin," said Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez, who lauded his opposite number as a ‘great coach’, expecting a tough game on Saturday.