Match 98 Preview: NorthEast look to get ahead in the top-four race with a win over Chennaiyin
Chennaiyin FC take on NorthEast United FC in Match 98 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Thursday. The Marina Machans were held to a 2-2 draw by FC Goa in their last match, while the Highlanders recorded a commanding 3-1 win over Odisha FC in their previous encounter.
The Marina Machans showed an improvement in the attacking third in their last match, scoring twice from open play to take the lead against the Gaurs. However, a late injury-time goal from the Gaurs meant that Csaba Laszlo’s team went home with just one point. Their draw also extended Chennaiyin’s winless run to seven matches. With a place in the top four now out of the question, the Marina Machans will be playing for nothing else but pride against an in-form NorthEast United side. "We have two games to go and it is not just about the semis but to get good results. We will do everything to win and the time will come for the young boys also. We are preparing against NorthEast, that will be a tough game. We will approach the game similarly to how we faced FC Goa and our target is to win the game," said Laszlo ahead of the match.
The Highlanders, on the other hand, will be flying high after their fourth win under the tutelage of interim head coach Khalid Jamil. NorthEast United are unbeaten in their last seven matches, which also includes wins over the current table-toppers ATK Mohun Bagan and second-placed Mumbai City FC. Their form can be put down to their improved attack.
Although the Highlanders have only kept one clean sheet since Jamil took over (six games so far), their attack has been impressive, with 11 goals under their belt. They have failed to score in only one match during this period, which was a goalless draw against Hyderabad FC (the second game between the sides this season). Their talisman Federico Gallego has 10 goal contributions this season (4 goals and 6 assists) and the team will continue to look to him for inspiration.
"We have to be prepared and not take it easy, just like the last match (against Odisha). The players have put in a lot of effort. They have shown determination and character on the pitch. I hope that they continue with the same spirit. We have to dictate the game and not give them time and space with the ball,” Highlanders assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew said ahead of the match.
The Marina Machans do not have a great record against the Highlanders, having lost six of 13 matches and winning just thrice. However, with nothing to lose Chennaiyin will definitely look to take advantage of any slip-ups by their opponents and spoil their party.
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
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, Abhijit Sarkar, Pandiyan Sinivasan, Germanpreet Singh, Dhanpal Ganesh, Edwin Vanspaul, Manuel Lanzarote
Forwards: Jakub Sylvestr, Aman Chetri, Rahim Ali, Esmael Goncalves
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 98: Chennaiyin FC vs NorthEast United FC
Date: February 18 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV