ISL 2023-24: League Shield on their mind, FC Goa aim for clinical outing against Hyderabad FC (preview)

Margao (Goa), April 4 (IANS) Hosts FC Goa will try to build pressure on the team occupying the top position to challenge for the League Winners Shield when they take on Hyderabad FC at the Fatorda Stadium here on Friday. The Gaurs have accumulated 36 points from 19 games at the moment. A win on Friday will take them to 39 off 20 matches, which is the same equation as that of Odisha FC.

Whilst Mumbai City FC sit in the pole position to retain the shield currently, there is a lot that can play out and unravel in the next few matches.

FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez will also be eager to get one over his former team Hyderabad FC, which is at the bottom of the standings and get into this match on the back of a 3-0 loss to Mumbai City FC.

Hyderabad FC had preceded that defeat with a victory against Chennaiyin FC and a draw at NorthEast United FC. Those results have built confidence within the unit that they can aim to end the season on a high and they will be traveling to Goa on Friday in a mood to spoil the Gaurs’ party.

The stakes are higher for FC Goa, who will be aiming to get their second league double against Hyderabad FC, after having previously done so in the 2019-20 season. They won their previous match against the Thangboi Singto-coached side 2-0 in February, and a win here will make them the second team that the Gaurs have recorded a league double over this season, after East Bengal FC.

FC Goa have been regaining their mojo lately, having scored twice in each of their last two matches. The last time they went on a longer such run than this was three games in January 2023. Their defensive solidity ever since Marquez took over the reins has been laudable, having given away only 13 goals from inside the box this season, which is the least amongst all teams in the competition.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad FC have only scored nine goals from inside the box, also the lowest among all teams this campaign. Whilst FC Goa might boast of superior experience in their ranks, recent matches have proved that no result can be ruled out in the ISL 2023-24.

On their part, Hyderabad FC brought to an end their 10-game-long winless run on the road with a 1-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC. The last time they won consecutive away matches was a sequence of four games from December 2022 to January 2023. They tend neither to start the games strongly nor finish it neatly. For instance, they have given away seven goals in the first 15 minutes of their matches and 10 in the final 15 of their games, which is the most amongst all teams in the ISL 2023-24.

FC Goa will have their eyes set on overloading the Hyderabad FC box during these particular phases of the game to extract the most optimum results possible. Since the start of 2024, Hyderabad FC have conceded 8.8 fouls per game in the ISL, the lowest such rate of all teams. However, Hyderabad FC are the only side with multiple red cards during the same span – three. All in all, an exciting contest could play out if Hyderabad FC bring their A-game to the table.

Overall, they have played nine matches with FC Goa winning four and Hyderabad FC bagging three wins. Two matches between them ended in draws.

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