Languishing at the bottom half of the table after suffering back-to-back defeats, Hyderabad FC would look to exploit the defensive woes of FC Goa when the two sides clash in an Indian Super League match in Vasco on Wednesday.
It has been a mixed campaign for Hyderabad so far. Manuel Marquez’s side were unbeaten after five games but back-to-back defeats have seen them slip to eighth on the table.
Another stern test from FC Goa awaits them at the Tilak Maidan Stadium but the Gaurs’ defensive woes will provide Hyderabad glimmer of a hope to get their campaign back on track.
Sixth-placed FC Goa have been among the most fearsome attacking teams this season, having scored 10 goals so far. However, in defence, they have found it hard to keep things tight, conceding nine goals while recording just one clean sheet.
Marquez is aware of FC Goa's defensive struggles and knows his team will have their chances to win. The Nizams, who have often been guilty of missing chances this season, will need to ensure they need to be clinical in front of goal.
“These kinds of things (conceding goals) are normal in football,” Marquez said about FC Goa.
“If you are an offensive team, you can have problems in defence. Goa have an offensive style because they arrive with a lot of players when they attack ... but their defence sometimes, when the other team is in counter-attack, there are less defenders than attackers and it becomes difficult to defend.”
Hyderabad have scored just six goals this season, with only Kerala Blasters and SC East Bengal scoring less. But they have shown they can be threatening from set-pieces, through which they have scored half their goals.
This presents a tough challenge for FC Goa who have conceded seven goals through set-pieces―the most by a team this season.
But coach Juan Ferrando is more focused on preparing the team for defensive situations despite the lack of clean sheets.
“Firstly, I'm not worried if we concede three goals, but we score four,” said Ferrando.
“About the set-pieces, we need to put attention. It's important to connect. When we are working in the defensive line, it's important to understand the moment of the timing to attack the ball, who is better in free space, zone, and man-to-man.
“In this case, we need time because it's necessary to change (players) game by game, depending on the opponents.”