Sun, 03 Dec 2023

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 30 (ANI): Hyderabad FC will kick off their Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 campaign by locking horns with East Bengal FC in the latter's backyard at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday.

In their first encounter, the Red and Gold Brigade, under their new head coach Carles Cuadrat, played out an engaging but eventually goalless draw against Jamshedpur FC at this very venue on Monday.

What's at stake?East Bengal FCCarles Cuadrat has certainly imprinted his philosophy pretty impressively in the East Bengal FC setup, which was evident from the swift and sustained phases of attacks that they brought about in the last game. The key now is in capitalising on those opportunities as dropping points early on can be costly for their prospects later on in the campaign.

Hyderabad FCHyderabad FC finished second on the points tally last year with 13 wins and just four losses from its 20 league games. So, the team will be carrying the expectation of opening their campaign with a win this time around as well. Amidst all the expectations and consistency over the past two seasons, they go into the season with a new head coach - Thangboi Singto.

Key PlayersCleiton Silva (East Bengal FC): After failing to open their account against Jamshedpur FC, East Bengal will be aiming for goals galore against Hyderabad FC. In that regard, their Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva will play a crucial role in this match. The 37-year-old brings in a wealth of club football experience and is a proven goalscorer in the league.

Makan Winkle Chote (Hyderabad FC): Keep an eye on young winger Makan Winkle Chote. Hyderabad FC prized out the 23-year-old from their ISL rivals FC Goa on a free transfer this season. Chote was impressive for the Gaurs and will be looking for more game time at his new club.

Head-to-HeadMatches Played: 8 East Bengal FC: 0 Hyderabad FC: 4 Draws: 4Trivia: East Bengal are yet to win a match against Hyderabad. Last season, East Bengal were leading 3-1 at half-time in a Super Cup match against Hyderabad. But they conceded two second-half goals and the match ended in a 3-3 draw.

Team Talk "Every ISL game is a challenge. All the teams have equal opportunity to win games. As Hyderabad FC, as players and staff, we are ready. We are excited to face East Bengal FC. One of the strengths of Hyderabad FC is the togetherness and camaraderie in the group. The new players that have come in have bonded really well with the previous players. There are some senior very experienced players who have bonded well with the young players. So I think as a point whether we are fighting for points on the field or working hard off it. We will always go for top honours. We are working hard for the playoffs. From there we think of what's next," said Hyderabad head coach Thangboi Singto ahead of the match as quoted by an ISL press release.

"We are doing the work to win the game. The last 15 minutes of the first half against Jamshedpur FC was terrific. It is always good to see the other team in a friendly but of course, it is a friendly situation. We have to be ready for a close game. 0-0, 1-0 ,0-1, they are good in that so we have to be mentally ready for that. I am not agreeing that the conversion rate of our team is poor. The important thing is to create chancesand the team is creating chances. It is a new season, new players, and new transfers but it always helps to have some bit of information about other team players. The style of football we are playing has to work," said East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat. (ANI)

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