NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali highly values their upcoming do-or-die game against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.

The Highlanders will be eyeing their third league double against the two-time ISL Cup winners to continue their chase for the final playoff spot. Benali’s men, who secured a 2-0 victory in their last match against Kerala Blasters FC, will be determined to continue their form in their forthcoming away fixture.

However, the head coach didn’t want to spare their time thinking about their recent match against Ivan Vukomanovic’s team. Benali anticipated a high-voltage clash against Owen Coyle’s team as he urged his players to be focused ahead of the decisive outing.

“Well, the Kerala game is past. We don’t think about it anymore. We have a final on Tuesday. It’s not going to be easy,” he said in the pre-match press conference.

“Chennaiyin FC are a very tough, strong, physical team with very good players, technical players, and a great coach. And they know us very well; we know them very well. It should be a special game, a special final,” he added.

The Spaniard acknowledged the importance of their forthcoming game, which would be nothing short of a final for the Highlanders to stay alive in the qualification race for the top six. Benali also mentioned that his team should target all three points against the Marina Machans, as he believed dropping points could put an end to their ISL 2023–24 season.

“The one who loses is out, and a draw is not good for either team. You know, both teams need to win,” he commented.

"Yesterday, East Bengal FC did their job. We need to finalise. If we win, great. If we don’t, congratulations to Chennaiyin FC, and good luck to both of them. That’s it, and be proud. We need to finish the proud work we have been doing in the game,” Benali continued.

Chennaiyin FC are coming with good momentum after bagging back-to-back wins against Mohun Bagan SG and Jamshedpur FC. Analyzing his opponent’s style of play, Benali explained,

“They (Chennaiyin FC) have good players. In the last two games, they put in three attackers and one defender (foreigners). Before, they would put in two foreign defenders, one in midfield and one in defense, and two like an attack. We are ready for whatever happens.”

“However they play, we will be ready. The most important thing is that we’re playing against Chennaiyin FC, not against a single player. What we need to say is that what we look at on the front is a good Chennaiyin FC team,” he signed off.

I wish to win against Chennaiyin FC: Hamza Regragui


Hamza Regragui accompanied his head coach ahead of their vital away game against Chennaiyin FC. The Moroccan defender, who joined the Highlanders in the winter transfer window, has made five ISL appearances for the Highlanders thus far, in which he has made three interceptions, won eight duels, and played 98 successful passes.

Regragui also has his eyes fixed on qualifying for the knockout stages. The defender highly values their upcoming game and is optimistic about bringing out positive results from the match.

“I think it’s very good work. Together, we have one objective: to go into the playoffs,” he said.

“On Tuesday, we have a very important game. We have prepared very well for this game. I wish to win. It’s very important. I think it’s very good work working together all this month,” he concluded.