Left-back Akash Mishra made only his second appearance in the ISL but he has already captivated the fans with his brilliance
Only in their second season of the Indian Super League (ISL), Hyderabad FC continues to look like a rejuvenated side, under their new head coach Manuel Marquez.
The club from south finished with a wooden spoon in their debut season with just 10 points but early signs in the 2020-21 edition of the ISL suggest that their fortunes might be much better this time around.
Marquez instilled confidence in Hyderabad FC and it has resulted in two positive results for his side. Hyderabad FC opened the campaign with their first-ever clean sheet in the ISL over a less-threatening Odisha FC side. They continued to grow in confidence as they held Bengaluru FC to a goalless draw at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday. And in both the matches, left-back Akash Mishra impressed to the fore. So much so that Marquez even said that he can be the best left-back in the country.
Mishra is inexperienced, he is all of 19, but his ability on the field doesn’t reflect the same. The teenager from the footballing backwaters of Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh is making a name for himself through his passes and brilliant positioning. Mishra also likes to switch flanks, build up attacks, and provide width on the left-wing. And his statistics are a testament to that.
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It did not take time for Mishra to make his presence felt against Bengaluru with his long balls and short passes. He, however, was more effective in the first half than the final 45 minutes.
Playing the entire match, Mishra had 68 touches on the ball and completed 39 passes, with an accuracy of 78 per cent, which is a remarkable figure for a youngster, in the early days of his club career.
However, Mishra has some shortcomings. He occasionally mistimes his passes and in the process loses possession. Though his quick runs down the flank have proven to be a handful for Hyderabad FC, he occasionally fails to time it to perfection.
But for his age, Mishra has already proved to be a bright spark in the Hyderabad FC squad, and as Marquez pointed out – hard work will only do him good.
Hyderabad, meanwhile, have a lot of positives to take from their start to the season. They have four points from two games and look to be a competitive side this time around.
However, injuries to three of their six foreigners in Lluis Sastre, Joel Chianese and Francisco Sandaza will have Manuel Marquez sweating a bit. Sastre and Chianese suffered injuries in the first half against Bengaluru. It leaves them with just three fit foreigners currently.
It’s a slight worry in what has been a decent start to the season for Hyderabad.