INDIAN SUPER LEAGUE

Season review of Hyderabad FC: Manolo Marquez’s side continues to improve

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The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season 2022-23 must be seen favourably by Hyderabad FC. The Manolo Marquez-coached team opened the season in dominating form, exactly as they concluded the previous season.

Marquez and his teammates continued to demonstrate their exceptional spirit and excellence in the Hero ISL. Yet, they were denied the coveted Hero ISL League Winners’ Shield for the second year in a row, this time by a tenacious Mumbai City FC, who had a great season.

It was always going to be a difficult assignment to defend the Hero ISL title, but they surely gave it their all and, if not for fitness difficulties, they might have made it more difficult for the opposition squad. Their misery was compounded when they lost 3-4 on penalties following two goalless semi-final draws against ATK Mohun Bagan, therefore ending their ambition of reclaiming the Hero ISL crown.

Their season may have ended in disappointment, but it was far from a disaster.

Hyderabad FC Record

Pl: 22 W: 13 D: 5 L: 4

During the most of the season, Hyderabad FC remained a formidable force. They began their season with a thrilling 3-3 tie against Mumbai City FC before embarking on a five-game winning streak.

At one stage, Marquez’s men appeared invincible as they went eight games unblemished until falling 3-1 to Odisha FC.

Their excellent run of form maintained them at the top of the league for 55 days, but they were finally beaten by Mumbai City FC, who won their second League Winners Shield.

Hyderabad FC finished the league phase with the most victories (13) and the most points in a single Hero ISL season (42). Apart from the victories, their defensive unity appeared to be much stronger than previous season.

Positives

This season, Marquez has been successful in making Hyderabad FC more defensively resilient. Odei Onaindia’s return to the Hyderabad FC defence has provided much-needed organisation and consistency. They had an outstanding defensive record in the Hero ISL this season, conceding only 16 goals (seven fewer than last season) in 22 games. For the first time in Hero ISL history, they recorded 10 clean sheets in a single season, which is the joint-most clean sheets by a team in the league stage in a single season.

Negatives

According by their standard, Hyderabad FC’s attacking flair in the last weeks of the season was insufficient. Their forwards were particularly passive in the semi-final match against ATK Mohun Bagan, and they failed to break into the Mariners’ defence. The lack of an Indian goalkeeper was palpable, and this is an area where they must improve significantly next season.

Best Player

Under Marquez, Odei Onaindia was the standard bearer for this Hyderabad FC team. His comeback boosted the club’s exponential expansion.

The Spaniard embodies every aspect of the squad and, more importantly, reflects it back on every other squad member. His organisational abilities certainly aided the squad. The HFC defence was led admirably by the centre-back. In several defensive scenarios, he was the main point and cleared every threat in sight.

In 21 games, the 33-year-old produced 38 tackles, 23 interceptions, 94 clearances, and 31 blocks. At the back, Onaindia was massive and executed his duty flawlessly.

Best Young Player

Akash Mishra carried a lot of weight after his countryman Asish Rai departed the club, and the left-back delivered nicely. Mishra shown exceptional consistency and adeptness in his tasks within a diverse job. He is sturdy and certain on defence, and he is as prolific on offence. In 19 games, he has 35 interceptions and 53 clearances.

The 21-year-old gave Hyderabad FC’s offensive play a new dimension. With his storming runs down the left wing and accurate crosses, he frequently set the tempo. His perseverance might be vital not only for his own achievement, but also for the success of his team.

What do they require for the following season?

Hyderabad FC must regroup, recover, and rebuild in order to return to the top of the table.

They must keep their core group together, which includes Chinglensana Konsham, Mishra, Mohammad Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Onaindia, and Hitesh Sharma.

The absence of an Indian goalkeeper is a huge concern. With three goals apiece, Halicharan Narzary and Mohammad Yasir were the highest Indian scorers for HFC.

A few significant decisions must be made this summer, including the fates of Bartholomew Ogbeche, Joel Chianese, and Manolo Marquez. We may anticipate them to win the big prize again next season if they do well in the off-season.

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