Match 26 Preview: Unbeaten NorthEast look to maintain strong record against Chennaiyin
NorthEast United FC will look to maintain their unbeaten start to Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they take on Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco in Super Sunday’s first game. The Highlanders registered a 2-2 draw with Bengaluru FC in their previous game, while the Marina Machans need to bounce back after consecutive losses to Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC in their last two matches.
NorthEast United have had a fair amount of success against the Marina Machans since the inception of the Hero ISL. They have beaten Chennaiyin FC six times and lost just thrice, scoring 22 goals which is their most against any opposition in the Hero ISL.
The Highlanders have won two and drawn three matches this season but Gerard Nus’ side will have to be on their toes against the two-time champions. Last season, after a strong start to their campaign, NorthEast United failed to win another game for the remainder.
While their defensive prowess has been in discussion, NorthEast United have strong attacking output as well. They are the joint highest goal-scorers this season with Mumbai City (8) and also have the second-best shot accuracy (34.69%). Their main attackers Luis Machado, Kwesi Appiah and Idrissa Sylla all have got two goals each -- signs of a well-balanced team.
"Chennaiyin is going to be a competitive side. We have seen they can fight. Even in the last game they didn’t get the result that they were working for but they created chances and were dangerous. We have to expect a side that is going to play with commitment and aggression and we have to be ready for it," Nus said ahead of the game.
Chennaiyin FC meanwhile will have to be at their best against a compact and well-oiled NorthEast United FC side. If Csaba Laszlo’s side lose on Sunday, then this will be the first time since the 2018-19 season that they will have lost three matches in a row, something the Marina Machans will look to avoid.
The Marina Machans have not been as clinical in front of goal as expected so far. Winger Lallianzuala Chhangte has been a bright spark but is yet to make a significant goal contribution. Chhangte’s statistics have shown an improvement from last season, with his cross-completion rate improving from 30.61% to 43.75% and he has already made seven key passes in five matches. However, with a dearth of goals, Laszlo will expect a lot more in terms of goals return from Chhangte.
"NorthEast have had a good start to the 2020-21 Hero ISL season. They are very stable and have good offensive players. They can score goals against every opponent. We must be prepared. We have our own style and strengths and we will put them to use against them," said Chennaiyin head coach Laszlo ahead of the game
NorthEast United FC
Goalkeepers: Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy
Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Rakesh Pradhan, Wayne Vaz
Midfielders: Federico Gallego, Imran Khan, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela
Forwards: Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Kwesi Appiah, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhair Vadakkepeedika
Goalkeepers: Revanth BY, Vishal Kaith, Karanjit Singh, Samik Mitra.
Defenders: Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Enes Sipovic, Reagan Singh, Eli Sabia, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Remi, Balaji Ganesan, Aqib Nawab, Deepak Tangri
Midfielders: Fatkhulo Fatkhuloev, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Memo Moura, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Abhijit Sarkar, Pandiyan Sinivasan, Germanpreet Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Edwin Vanspaul.
Forwards: Jakub Sylvestr, Aman Chetri, Rahim Ali, Esmael Goncalves.
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 26: NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: December 13 (Sunday)
Time: 5:00 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV