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Reliance Foundation Development League: Bengaluru Favourites Against Mumbai; Goa, Hyderabad Look to Bounce Back

Bengaluru FC will start as favourites to extend their winning run when they face Mumbai City FC in a fourth-round Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) clash at the Nagoa Ground in Goa on Thursday.

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In the other tie of the day, FC Goa will look to bounce back from a heavy defeat when they take on fellow wounded tigers Hyderabad FC, at the Benaulim Ground.

Bengaluru have made a perfect start to the inaugural edition of the RFDL, winning their first three games. Mumbai, on the contrary, have lost all their matches so far. While the Blues will look to inflict more misery on Mumbai, the Islanders will have to find a way to register their first points on board.

Bengaluru beat Hyderabad in a tense encounter to log their third win, riding a last-gasp Monirul Molla winner. Though it was not a convincing performance as Hyderabad bossed the second half, Bengaluru head coach Naushad Moosa can draw heart from his team’s fighting spirit and ability to make the most of the chances when the going is not easy.

Rahul Raju has been in fine form for Bengaluru, the lean striker scoring in all their three matches. The team has looked solid in spells at the back as well, Namgyal Bhutia and Robin Yadav giving a good account of themselves. In midfield, Bekey Oram has been impressive too. Sivasakthi Narayanan was taken off in the first half of the last game and it remains to be seen whether the key forward is fit for the Mumbai game.

Coming to Mumbai, nothing has worked in their favour so far as they lost to Reliance Foundation Young Champs in their last engagement. Midfielder Shreyas Vatekar and full-back Twain Fernandes worked hard and looked impressive but as a unit, Mohan Dass’ charges looked disjointed and they will have to up their game by a few notches against Bengaluru.

Later in the day, both Goa and Hyderabad will look to get back to winning ways. Goa were thrashed 1-5 by Jamshedpur while Hyderabad lost to Bengaluru, meaning both teams are on three points from the same number of matches.

Goa got off to a good start but once Jamshedpur got going, it was one-way traffic. Coach Deggie Cardozo will have the task of not only getting his boys ready for the game tactically but mentally as well after a defeat that is hard to swallow. Goa will have to be better in midfield and going by their possession-based style of play, they need to get more final balls for the likes of Mevan Dias. Jovial Dias started on the bench against Jamshedpur and the Gaurs did miss his industry upfront, especially the link-up play between him and Brison Fernandes.

Hyderabad, meanwhile, can take a lot of heart from their defeat to Bengaluru as they dominated the second period and saw some good performances from players like C. Lalchungnunga and Abdul Rabeeh. Along with Bishnu Bordoloi and Mark Zothanpuia, Hyderabad have a potent attacking line and coach Shameel Chembakath will hope they deliver as a unit on Thursday.

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