Chennaiyin, NorthEast hunt crucial win to keep pace with top four
Chennaiyin FC will host NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai for Match 60 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 on Thursday. Chennaiyin are currently eight on the standings, while the Highlanders are ninth and three points from the tie will be crucial for both sides to keep the themselves relevant in the top four race, heading into the final six Gameweeks of the league phase.
Currently on 12 points from 11 matches, Chennaiyin's mid-season resurgence under Owen Coyle seems to have fizzled out a bit. However, the Marina Machans did manage to arrest their two-match losing run with a 3-1 victory over Hyderabad FC in their last outing and will be eager to make their home advantage count against the Highlanders on Thursday.
Despite the results not quite going their way, Chennaiyin, under Coyle, have been productive offensively with ten of their 14 goals coming in the five matches he has been in charge of. Nerijus Valskis, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Rafael Crivellaro have looked good of late and will look to continue on the same vein of form against the Highlanders.
The defence, however, still has issues which need to be addressed. They have let in 19 goals so far this campaign - the third-worst defensive record in the league and even in the last five outings, have conceded 9. Quite a few of the goals Chennaiyin conceded, have come about from defensive errors and the likes of Lucian Goian, Eli Sabia and Co. will be desperate to cut these unforced errors out of their game. Coyle will be without midfielder Germanpreet Singh for the tie owing to suspension.
The Highlanders are currently ninth in the table with 11 points from 10 matches. Despite having started their campaign with a six-match unbeaten run, Robert Jarni's men have now lost three of their last four outings, thereby slipping down the table rapidly. What's even more worrying is the fact that they are now winless in six, with their last win coming back in November 6, 2019.
The biggest issue plaguing the Highlanders have been their attacking returns. Having scored just nine times so far, they possess the worst offensive record in the league. Furthermore, the team has scored just once in their last four matches and that too from a penalty.
With four goals and one assist to his name, Asamoah Gyan has been NorthEast’s biggest attacking asset and the team hasn’t been able to find the net whenever the striker has not featured. The talismanic striker’s involvement is unlikely in the Chennaiyin match due to an injury and his absence will, undoubtedly, severely dent the Highlanders’ chances. NorthEast fans will hope the likes of Martin Chaves, Rupert Nongrum, Redeem Tlang and others can step up in Gyan’s absence. Defensive screen Jose Leudo will be unavailable for the tie after being sent off in their last match against FC Goa.
One thing the Highlanders can take heart from, however, is their record against Chennaiyin. NorthEast have lost just twice and won six against the Marina Machans, including back-to-back victories in their last three meetings.
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith (GK), Lucian Goian, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Nerijus Valskis, Andre Schembri
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Rakesh Pradhan, Mislav Komorski, Kai Heerings, Reagan Singh, Lalengmawia, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Redeem Tlang, Rupert Nongrum, Federico Gallego, Martin Chaves
Did you know?
- NorthEast have scored 3 goals away from home (lowest in the league).
- NorthEast are the only team who are yet to score a goal from a cross this season.
- Out of the 14 goals Chennaiyin have scored this season, nine have come in their last four matches.
Which team will come out on top?
- Chennaiyin FC
- NorthEast United FC
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 60: Chennaiyin FC vs NorthEast United FC
Date: January 16 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV