Match 86 Preview: In-form sides Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC face off in battle for top four

Two in-form teams take on each other when Hyderabad FC meet NorthEast United FC in Match 86 of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Sunday’s second game. The club from Telangana secured a 2-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC in their last outing to remain unbeaten in seven matches, while the Highlanders came back twice to secure a 2-2 draw against FC Goa in their previous encounter.

Hyderabad have not lost a single match in the new year. They have been consistent in terms of defending as well as attacking. The side have only been unable to score against Jamshedpur FC and league leaders Mumbai City FC during this run of seven matches, keeping three clean sheets as well. Their skipper Aridane Santana is ably supported by his Spanish compatriot Fran Sandaza, as well as Joel Chianese, both of whom scored in their win over Chennaiyin. 

“The work of Khalid [Jamil] is very good because it is not easy to beat Mumbai City, Jamshedpur and ATK Mohun Bagan. But I think the most important thing that Khalid gives to his players is confidence. They have three very dangerous players in attack: [Luis] Machado, [Federico] Gallego and Deshorn Brown. They have a lot of confidence. But we will have chances to win the game as well if we play in our own style,” Hyderabad head coach Manuel Marquez said ahead of the game.

The Highlanders are in strong form themselves, securing three wins and a draw in their last four matches. They managed close 2-1 wins over ATK Mohun Bagan and then Mumbai City, before a strong comeback against FC Goa ensured that NorthEast United extended their unbeaten run to five matches.

A cause for concern for the interim head coach Khalid Jamil will be his team’s defensive record. The Highlanders have not kept a clean sheet in their last nine matches. They trailed twice in their last match and if not for two penalties that the Gaurs conceded, things could have been different for NorthEast United. The return of Dylan Fox from an injury will be key to the side on Sunday. The Australian defender’s partnership with Benjamin Lambot has been integral to NorthEast United and they will hope to keep Hyderabad FC’s lively and young attackers at bay.

“We want to play this match like how we played the last few matches. We have to play positively and get a positive result. We are not taking any of the teams lightly. We need to get the three points and we will try to be in our best form. All the players and the staff, we are working together to improve our performances. Hyderabad is a good team. It is a crucial match,” interim head coach Khalid Jamil said ahead of the game.

NorthEast United enter the business end of the league level on points with their opponents Hyderabad FC. They succumbed to a 4-2 loss the last time these two sides played but with a strong attacking force emerging for the Highlanders in their last few matches, Marquez’s men will have to be cautious this time.  

Squads:

Hyderabad FC

Goalkeepers: Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey, Sankar Roy

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Dimple Bhagat, Kynsailang Khongsit, Nikhil Prabhu, Odei Onaindia, Sahil Panwar

Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Sahil Tavora, Halicharan Narzary, Hitesh Sharma, Joao Victor, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Souvik Chakrabarti, Sweden Fernandes, Roland Alberg

Forwards: Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Ishan Dey, Joel Chianese, Lalawmpuia, Liston Colaco, Rohit Danu

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, Wayne Vaz

Midfielders: Federico Gallego, Imran Khan, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela

Forwards: Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Deshorn Brown, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhair Vadakkepeedika

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 86: Hyderabad FC vs NorthEast United FC

Date: February 7 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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