Talking Point: Will NorthEast’s goal-shy attack come good against Hyderabad’s fragile defence?

NorthEast United FC will be eager to return to winning ways in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. The Highlanders are winless in their last five matches and must snap that run soon if they want to contend for the semi-final spots. They will be up against a confident Hyderabad side that registered an emphatic 4-1 win over Chennaiyin FC in their last outing and here’s a closer look at some of the factors that could influence which way the pendulum swings when the two teams meet.

Halicharan Narzary shines for Hyderabad

Halicharan Narzary has been one of Hyderabad’s most impressive players this season and the Indian winger will head into the clash against his former side with confidence having netted a brace in his last outing. Both his goals against Chennaiyin in Hyderabad’s previous game were quality strikes and the 26-year-old is currently enjoying his best Hero ISL season in terms of goals scored (3). Only Aridane Santana has had more shots on target than Narzary among Hyderabad players and no Indian player has attempted more shots than his 23. As far as goal-scoring among Indian players is concerned, only Sunil Chhetri (4 goals) has scored more Narzary.

NorthEast need to be more clinical

With three draws and two defeats in their last five games, it’s safe to say that NorthEast’s strong early season form is now a distant memory. One of the main reasons for their recent slump in form is their attackers’ failure to make the most of the chances that come their way. After beginning the campaign with eight goals in their first five matches, NorthEast have struggled to hit the target on a consistent basis and have scored just twice in their last four games. However, they will be facing a Hyderabad side that isn’t the most solid at the back and the Highlanders will hope that they can rediscover their goal-scoring touch against them.

Hyderabad’s defence must be more compact

After beginning the season with back-to-back clean sheets and conceding just two goals in their first four matches, Hyderabad have let in nine goals in their next five games. Before playing against Chennaiyin, they were on a three-match losing run that saw them concede two goals in each match. Seven out of the 11 goals that they have conceded have come in their last four matches. Clearly, they need to be tighter at the back against the Highlanders on Friday.

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