Match 32 Preview: Both NorthEast and Jamshedpur eye maximum points after notching up four draws each

Unbeaten in their six matches so far in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 with two wins and four draws, NorthEast United FC meet Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. The Highlanders are coming into the game after a goalless draw in their last match against Chennaiyin FC. Jamshedpur too earned a draw in their previous game against a very strong Mumbai City FC side.   

Out of six matches between these two sides in the past, five have ended in draws while Jamshedpur have won one. Gerard Nus will hope his team can register their first-ever win against Jamshedpur on Friday.

However, having conceded four of their five goals so far in the first half, NorthEast will need to be wary of Jamshedpur’s formidable attack. Jamshedpur have scored five of their seven goals in the first half, and all have been scored by their Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis.

“We are aware of Valskis. He is a striker capable of scoring a lot of goals. He was the top-scorer last season and already has six goals in the current season and we know he is a threat. We are going to be prepared (for him),” head coach Nus said ahead of the game.

In Kwesi Appiah and Idrissa Sylla, the Highlanders too have strong attacking options but they will face a tough challenge from TP Rehenesh, who has the most saves for a goalkeeper this season (18). Meanwhile, Khassa Camara’s ability to break the play should allow the likes of Luis Machado to counter and deliver the ball to their forward line.

Rehenesh is also ably supported by skipper Peter Hartley. He was especially good in their 1-1 draw against the Islanders after going down to 10 men. Hartley made five clearances, one interception and three tackles in the game and was rightly adjudged Hero of the Match.

Jamshedpur, however, will be without Aitor Monroy, who was sent off for a double booking in their last match. In his absence, the battle of the midfield will be crucial against the Highlanders. Camara has been a key figure in the midfield for Nus and it will be interesting to see which Indian midfielders are used by Owen Coyle to support Alexandre Lima in the middle of the park.

Sharing his thoughts ahead of the game, head coach Coyle said, “It’s going to be a tough game. NorthEast United FC have started very well and they are working very hard. There is no doubt that they have quality within the squad. It is a game that we are ready for. We are very respectful of them and this is a game we are looking forward to. If we are at our best, we can bring our top game and win.”

Coyle will hope to continue his five-match unbeaten run in Hero ISL 2020-21: since losing to Chennaiyin FC in their opening fixture, the side have managed four draws and one win. Jamshedpur will also look to extend their unbeaten run against NorthEast United but in light of the Highlanders’ current form they will have to play out of their skin to achieve that objective.

Squads:

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

Jamshedpur FC

Goalkeepers: Pawan Kumar, Niraj Kumar, TP Rehenesh, Raj Mahato, Vishal Yadav

Defenders: Narender Gahlot, Joyner Lourenco, Ricky Lallawmawma, Sandip Mandi, Laldinliana Renthlei, Karan Amin, Peter Hartley, Stephen Eze, Subhash Barua, Manash Protim Gogoi

Midfielders: Aitor Monroy, Alexandre Lima, Amarjit Singh, Jackichand Singh, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Mohammad Mobashir, Jitendra Singh, Gaurab, Manisana Singh, Harsha Parui, Gorachand Mamdi, Billu Teli

Forwards: Nerijus Valskis, William Lalnunfela, John Fitzgerald, David Grande, Sapam Kennedy, Bhupender Singh, Aniket Jadhav

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 32: NorthEast United FC vs Jamshedpur FC

Date: December 18 (Friday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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