Mumbai City FC full-back Akash Mishra only had praises for his former team, Hyderabad FC as both teams lock horns in their fourth Indian Super League (ISL) match of the season, at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday.
Akash was a key player in Hyderabad’s line-up and – with two goals and three assists in the 2021-22 season – helped it win the ISL title in 2021. The left-back has put in decent performances for Mumbai and has become an integral part of manager, Des Buckingham’s backline.
When asked about his thoughts facing his former team, Akash said, “I am approaching this as any other game, but it will be special for me since I share a lot of memories with the team after playing there for three years.”
Although HFC has lost all three of its opening matches and is sitting penultimate in the league table, Akash feels that it has been creating ample goal-scoring chances and just needs to convert them into goals.
Akash joked that he would ‘try to find out the starting 11’ of Hyderabad by talking to his former teammates ahead of the game.
MCFC comes into the game after a 6-0 loss in its AFC Champions League away tie against Al Hilal FC on Monday.
“We defended well in the first 70 minutes which is a positive takeaway from the game. But we cannot make silly mistakes and give away possession anywhere on the field as we did in the final 20 minutes,” Akash told Sportstar.
The players, however, are looking forward to the two home games coming up against HFC and Punjab FC to bounce back and welcome Al Hilal on its home turf on November 6.
Akash is playing in the AFC Champions League for the first time and revealed that it was ‘one of the main reasons’ why Akash joined MCFC this season. Another major reason is Rahul Bheke, the experienced centre-back and captain of MCFC, who Akash considers an ‘elder brother’.
MCFC won its last league game against Kerala Blasters FC, but a fight erupted between the two sides in the dying embers of the match. When asked about the same, Akash said ‘no hard feelings’ as the players have no grudges against each other ‘off the field.’
MCFC is currently fourth in the league with two wins and a draw, and will look to secure all three-points against a struggling HFC side.