Talking Point: Can NorthEast avenge their defeat against Hyderabad FC?

Match 86 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 will see NorthEast United FC take on Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday. Both sides will fight for an important victory that will boost their chances of finishing in the top four but the task at hand for either side is harder than it looks. Hyderabad are unbeaten in seven matches, with three wins and four draws while the Highlanders have managed three wins and two draws since losing 4-2 against Hyderabad FC back in January. Here, we look at some of the talking points ahead of the game that could influence the outcome in a big way.

Gallego leads the way for NorthEast United

NorthEast United have been very effective in the attacking department since interim head coach Khalid Jamil took charge of the club and their unit is ably led by their Uruguayan star Federico Gallego. He has four goals for the Highlanders, same as Luis Machado, but has played four games fewer than the Portuguese winger. Gallego has also created a massive 41 chances for his team this season. He scored twice from the spot in their last match to secure the three points against FC Goa. Once again, the spotlight will be on him.

Chianese and Sandaza key to Hyderabad

Hyderabad FC’s Aridane Santana has scored seven goals this season, shouldering his team’s attack during the first half of the season. With Fran Sandaza and Joel Chianese both fit and in contention for a place in the starting XI going into the business end of the season, Hyderabad will be aiming for nothing less than a place in the top four. Chianese has scored three goals with his nine shots on target, and Sandaza has scored twice in Hyderabad’s last two games. Both players scored in Hyderabad’s win over Chennaiyin FC and will hope to have a similar impact against the Highlanders.

Level on points, victory will be imperative for either team

Both sides are level on the league table with 22 points, having played 15 matches each. However, NorthEast United have a goal difference of just one goal as compared to Hyderabad’s four goals. The Highlanders will be looking to improve this particular statistic as they enter their final five matches of the season. Meanwhile, Hyderabad will be looking to leapfrog over third-placed FC Goa (who also have 22 points) with a win over the Highlanders. With not much separating the three teams currently occupying third, fourth and fifth place on the league table, a victory for Hyderabad or NorthEast United will add pressure on the Gaurs ahead of their crunch tie against league leaders Mumbai City FC on Monday.

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