Leapfrogging Bengaluru big motivation for Chennaiyin against NorthEast
Having already booked a place in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-finals, Chennaiyin FC will go up against NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday with an eye on leapfrogging Bengaluru FC and finishing third in the table. The match will be the final fixture of this season's league phase.
Currently on a 13-match winless run, the Highlanders have struggled for results of late and are guaranteed a ninth-place finish irrespective of the result. In their last outing, NorthEast slumped to a 5-1 defeat to Hyderabad FC and interim head coach Khalid Jamil's men will be eager to put the loss, as well as the unflattering winless run, behind them with a win over Chennaiyin in their final match of the campaign.
NorthEast possess the worst offensive record in the league, having managed to score just 14 goals in 17 matches. Asamoah Gyan's injury have played a massive part behind that statistics, with the team struggling to cope with the Ghanaian's departure. Furthermore, with Federico Gallego suspended for Tuesday's tie, the Highlanders face an uphill task against an in form Chennaiyin.
On the flipside, Redeem Tlang, Jose Leudo, Wayne Vaz and Rakesh Pradhan - four players who were suspended for the Hyderabad tie, will be back for Tuesday's engagement and will provide a little more balance to the squad.
One aspect which will give the Highlanders hope will be their head to head record against the Marina Machans. The two teams have faced off on 11 occasions in the past, with NorthEast winning six, drawing two and losing only thrice.
On the opposite spectrum to their opponents' recent form, Chennaiyin have been scintillating of late and are unbeaten in their last seven, winning six of these. During the period, Owen Coyle’s charges have scored a staggering 19 goals. Nerijus Valskis, Rafael Crivellaro, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andre Schembri have all been in a rich vein of form since Coyle’s arrival and in the four, Chennaiyin possess on of, if not the most, devastating offensive units in the league at the moment.
In the last match against Mumbai City FC, Lucian Goian’s late winner also proved that the team has the ability to find a way through in crunch matches even when their famed front four fails to score. Coyle, however, may opt to safeguard several of his key players for the semi-finals particularly with several players, including captain Lucian Goian and goalkeeper Vishal Kaith, only one yellow card away from a suspension.
A win on Tuesday will also help Chennaiyin finish over defending champions Bengaluru FC in the table, which, given the two Southern teams’ intense rivalry, will be motivation enough for the Marina Machans to go all out for the win.
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Nim Dorjee, Kai Heerings, Wayne Vaz, Reagan Singh, Lalengmawia, Simon Lundevall, Ninthoi, Jose Leudo, Andrew Keogh, Martin Chaves
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Masih Saighani, Deepak Tangri, Laldinliana Renthlei, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Dragos Firtulescu, Andre Schembri, Rahim Ali
Did you know?
- NorthEast are currently on a 13-game winless streak. If they lose or draw their match against Chennaiyin, they will tie Hyderabad (2019-20) and Kerala (2018-19) for the record of most matches without a win.
- NorthEast have won only 1 match at home. (joint lowest in league)
- Chennaiyin have scored 14 and conceded 14 goals away from home this season.
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 90: NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: February 25 (Tuesday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV