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ISL: Hyderabad eager to build on last season's success as they begin campaign vs Chennaiyin

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Bambolim (Goa), Nov 23 (IANS) Hyderabad FC would be keen to secure a top-four finish this season, while Chennaiyin FC would be hoping to brush aside last season’s dismal showing and emerge strong contenders for the title when they begin their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign here later on Tuesday.

Hyderabad FC narrowly missed a top-four finish last time around, while Chennaiyin FC, following the high of a top-four finish in the 2019/20 season, slumped to eight in the previous season.

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Hyderabad FC’s Spanish coach Manolo Marquez had a telling impact on the team’s performance last season, ensuring a quick turnaround from the 2019/20 season when they finished at the bottom of the table and taking them to fifth last season.

Hyderabad FC earned 29 points last season, which was two points less than fourth-placed FC Goa. The side had the joint highest draws in the league last season with 11 draws and they would d be looking to convert those results into wins in the new season.

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Csaba Laszlo’s Chennaiyin FC failed to replicate their 2019/20 season’s performance, garnering just 20 points and finishing eighth. Although they were relatively solid in defence, they struggled in the final third, managing just 17 goals, which was the lowest in the league. Chennaiyin played out 11 draws, too, which was the joint highest in the league.

With the acquisition of players like Juanan, Bartholomew Ogbeche, and Edu Garcia, Hyderabad FC have added experience to their ranks. All three of these marquee signings have previously won the ISL, and they’ll be instrumental in instilling a winning mentality in the dressing room. Apart from that, the club has retained its core group of players, most of whom are emerging talents.

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Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, have opted for an overhaul, only retaining Rafael Crivellaro out of all their foreign talents. Most of their overseas recruits have played in Europe at some point in their career, and that could be useful both on and off the pitch. They’ve also reinforced their backline by roping in domestic players like Narayan Das, Salam Ranjan Singh, and Davinder Singh.

Rafael Crivellaro and Germanpreet Singh may miss out on the action against Hyderabad FC, as they are both recovering from injuries.

Bambolim is not a happy hunting ground for Chennaiyin as they could manage just a solitary win in the 13 games they played at the venue last season, drawing eight and losing four games.

–IANS

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