Bambolim (Goa), Jan 15 (IANS) Hyderabad FC recorded dominant wins against Chennaiyin and NorthEast United in their last two matches but now face the daunting prospect of facing the high- flying Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium on Saturday.
Mumbai hold a five-point lead at the top of the table that has come from a run of nine unbeaten matches since they lost 1-0 to NorthEast in their opening game in November. They have won eight of these matches, and have conceded just two goals in their last five games.
Coach Sergio Lobera, while being happy with the performances, knows that maintaining this level is the difficult part. “I am very happy with the results so far. It’s very difficult to keep this situation (going) but the most important thing for us is not the table but improving our performance,” stated Lobera.
The Islanders have scored in each of their last nine games wherein they also remained unbeaten. During this run, Mumbai scored (17 goals) in each of their last 9 matches. Their defence has also been great. They haven’t conceded any goals against the top three teams in the league. And Lobera credited his players, who have given collective performances so far.
“I’m very happy and proud of my players. It’s not easy to implement our style of play in a short time,” stated Lobera. “If we want to win trophies, the level of our Indian players has to be high throughout the season.”
Hyderabad, like Mumbai, hold an emphasis on a possession-based playing style and it has reaped dividends in their last two matches. They beat Chennaiyin 4-1 and NorthEast 4-2 but coach Manuel Marquez admitted Mumbai was the stronger team and predicted Lobera’s side will end up as champions of the league stage.
“Mumbai is of course the strongest team in this league. I continue saying that they will be the champions in the regular season because you know in the play-offs, not always the best team wins,” he said.