Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez was quick to praise Mumbai and said the match was always on the edge and there was no clear sign of who could win or lose.
An early encounter between two top teams in Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League ended in spoils shared as both teams earned a 3-3 draw. Hyderabad, with one of India’s most exciting young cores, clashed against Mumbai, who have the backing of the financial and technical expertise of the City Football Group. The result – one of the more exciting battles of the ISL season.
On Sunday it was no different, with both teams showing off their ISL playoff pedigree. Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez was quick to praise Mumbai and said the match was always on the edge and there was no clear sign of who could win or lose.
He said, “Even when we were losing, we had the feeling that we could turn the score and same when we were leading 2-1 and 3-2, there was a feeling they could equalise the game because they have very good players. I am completely sure that Mumbai City will be in the top four this season. Our team, once again, competed very well.”
For Mumbai City FC coach Des Buckingham, the six-goal thriller was one that could and should have been avoided. One of the goals, a Joao Victor penalty, came from the silliest of decisions made by MCFC midfielder Apuia Ralte. The Manipuri is one of India’s best technical midfielders on the ball, with his ability to hold on to possession in the middle of the pitch, among traffic, a quality that is sorely lacking in most other positions for the national team.
But his decision to go for a studs up challenge for the ball in the middle of the penalty box was one that cost his team a penalty.
“I think for the neutral, for the fans watching back home, it was a six-goal thriller. I don’t think for the coaches, Manolo and myself. As a coach, the heart rate may have gone a little bit high. No, I am very happy. It’s the first game of the season. We played against a very good team with some wonderful players and a wonderful coach as I spoke about before and we are away from home,” Buckingham said in the post-match press conference.
At the end of the game, it wasn’t just the scores that were tied, both teams were more or less even on key statistics as well. Hyderabad took 13 shots, as compared to Mumbai’s 15 but had seven shots on goal as compared to Mumbai’s 5. The possession between both teams was neck and neck at 51-49 in Hyderabad’s favour with Mumbai making 285 passes in their 90 minutes – only four less than the home team.