Defending champions Hyderabad FC start their new ISL season by taking on contenders Mumbai City FC. The first home game for HFC is being played in Pune because of renovation works being done at GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium.
The Nizams defeated Kerala Blasters in a dramatic penalty shootout in the cup final to earn their first ISL title while Mumbai City FC just missed out on the playoff spot finishing fifth on the ISL table last season.
HFC vs MCFC Match Details
Date: Sunday, 9 October 2022
Time: 19:30 (IST)
Venue: Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune
HFC vs MCFC Match Preview
Hyderabad FC’s philosophy of building the youth and bringing in quality foreigners in the ranks simultaneously gave them the reward they deserved last season. The Nizams won their first ISL title back in March in only their fourth year of existence in the league for a stunning story to tell. Manolo Marquez’s side defeated three times finalists Kerala Blasters in a dramatic penalty shootout in the final for glory. Rahul KP gave the team from South India the lead following a howler from goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani before Sahil Tavora came up with one of the goals of the season towards the end of ninety minutes to force extra time. Staying at 1-1, Kattimani turned hero from villain by saving four penalties in the shoot-out to help Hyderabad FC triumph 3-1 on the night. They came close to winning the Shield too but Covid outbreaks, as in most clubs, at the start of this year shifted them from that momentum ultimately finishing in the second spot with 38 points. HFC made sure they extend the contracts of their contributors for the title success to prevent them from losing in the transfer market including star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche for another season. The Nigerian ended as the league’s top scorer by netting 18 goals in 20 games last season, the best return of his career in ISL. Akash Mishra, Holicharan Narzary and Joel Chianese followed suit. Aside from the departures of important players like Asish Rai and Aniket Jadav, Hyderabad FC managed to keep the core of the title-winning group strong and with the addition of Odei Onaindia in defense and the series of youthful signings, sticking to their project has given them confidence of reaching similar heights in the new campaign. The Nizams are favorites to be in the top four places again and will be aiming to defend the title, the start of which beings with a stern test against Mumbai City FC.
Coach Des Buckingham’s era at Mumbai City FC started on a high and then drifted to a sour note after he took over the 2020/21 ISL winning side from Sergio Lobera last year. The Islanders ended in fifth place only three points off the playoff spot with their fall in the second half of the season eliminating them from title defense. However, everything has gone down well since then. Mumbai City FC became the first Indian club to win a group stage game in the AFC Champions League going on to grab another one finishing second in their group. The momentum was carried forward in the Durand Cup moving to the final of the tournament where they were narrowly defeated by Bengaluru FC last month. In quest of reaching the top again, MCFC have made improvements in the squad for the new campaign none more significant than the arrival of last season’s top goal contributor Greg Stewart. The Scottish forward scored 11 goals and provided 10 assists helping Jamshedpur FC to win the League Winner’s Shield. Also, Jorge Pereyra Diaz’s signing from Kerala Blasters adds more firepower to the team which struggled without a potent number nine last season. Igor Angulo did score 10 goals for 17 games but the lack of impact from the striker in the latter part opened his exit. As well as in the forward line, Rostyn Griffiths’s inclusion in the back four should give more solidity. The Indian players have brought in the craze too with Lallianzuala Chhangte an exciting addition to the team and have proved his worth in the Durand Cup. Youngster Sanjeev Stalin from his exposure in Portugal will showcase his talent at the right-back spot taking turns with the reliable Amey Ranawade. Expectations are high for Mumbai City FC to fight for the crown again with the team functioning properly under Des Buckingham this time. They will not make a better statement than picking up full points against the holders in their ISL curtain raiser.
HFC vs MCFC Predicted Lineups
HFC: Laxmikant Kattimani (GK); Reagan Singh, Odei Onaindia, Chinglensana Singh, Akash Mishra; Joao Victor, Hitesh Sharma; Halicharan Narzary, Javier Siverio, Yasir Mohammad; Bartholomew Ogbeche.
MCFC: Phurba Lachenpa (GK); Sanjeev Stalin, Rostyn Griffiths, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai; Ahmed Jahouh, Vinit Rai; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Apuia, Bipin Singh; Greg Stewart.
HFC vs MCFC Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Kattimani (8.5)
DEF: R Singh (9), Sana (8.5), Fall (9), Mishra (9)
MID: Yasir (8.5), Victor (9), Jahouh (9), Bipin (8.5)
FW: Stewart (9), Ogbeche (8)
Captain: Bartholomew Ogbeche
Vice-captain: Greg Stewart
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