Chennaiyin FC will be vying for the highest possible finish in the table after their playoff race ended, taking on East Bengal FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday. Only two points separate the sides and a win for the Torch Bearers will see them swap places and move up into eighth place.

Chennaiyin FC will be aching to end an eight-game winless streak. East Bengal FC could turn out to be the perfect opponent to do that as they have never beaten the Marina Machans in the Hero ISL.

However, the match takes place at the Marina Arena, where Chennaiyin FC have a poor record this season. The hosts have won only once in eight home games this season. They have drawn four and lost the other three.

Abdenasser El Khayati was on the scoresheet again last week when Chennaiyin FC lost to Kerala Blasters. The Dutchman has scored nine goals and assisted four in ten games this season, just ahead of his teammate Petar Sliskovic who has eight goals and four assists.

“We have to work and learn from our experience. That is why we still have objectives. We had a meeting with the players today and I conveyed to them in clear words what the expectations are,” said Brdaric. “We have three matches and in these three matches, I want to take the maximum points and that is the target,” said Brdaric.

East Bengal FC’s away record has been slightly better this season in the Hero ISL. At home, they have won twice and drawn one in nine games, whereas on the road they have won three in eight attempts.

Last week, the Torch Bearers were on the verge of notching their sixth win of the season before NorthEast United FC fought back and held them to their first draw of the season. A positive result in this game will see them go above Chennaiyin FC and get them out of the striking range of Jamshedpur FC.

Cleiton Silva and new signing Jake Jervis were on the scoresheet last week. Silva is the league’s leading goal scorer this season, with 12 goals in his pocket. Jervis will be eyeing his second of the season after scoring a spectacular overhead kick against the Highlanders.

“We are not in the top six, which is where we want to be, but we are preparing to be in the top six. You don’t just go in the top six. Hyderabad finished last, and then last year they won,” said Constantine. “Hopefully, in the summer, we will be able to build on what we have, sign a few more players and be better and more competitive,” he added.

Four out of five Hero ISL encounters between these two sides have ended in draws. Chennaiyin FC clinched their first win over East Bengal FC earlier this season in Kolkata.