The Matchweek 19 of Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 will begin with Chennaiyin FC locking horns against Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on March 9, at 7:30 pm IST.

Chennaiyin FC produced an upset of sorts in the previous game, breaking the 13-game-long unbeaten streak of Odisha FC by inflicting a 2-1 loss upon them at home last Sunday.

The Marina Machans are placed 11th in the table right now, with 18 points from 17 games. However, the dynamics of the standings are such that a victory here will take them to 21 points from 18 games.

That is exactly the number of points garnered by Bengaluru FC in 18 matches, and they are stationed at the sixth spot and are very much in the contention to secure qualification to the playoffs.

Hence, so deep into the campaign, the contest for the top-six is still intensely on, with Chennaiyin FC hoping to break into those places with inspired outings in their final five games of the campaign.

For Hyderabad FC, all the remaining matches are an opportunity to showcase that their young brigade can lay the foundation that the club can hope to build upon in the coming seasons.

They overcame a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 against NorthEast United FC in the last game, and that could push them to go one step ahead and notch their maiden victory of the campaign this time around.

What’s at stake?

Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin FC does not boast of the best of recent records against Hyderabad FC, having won only once in their previous five games in front of them. This time around, they will be chasing their first league double over them since the 2019-20 campaign.

However, head coach Owen Coyle has stressed upon the fact that his team thrives playing at home, having won thrice in their previous four games in their home turf.

In fact, they have won 13 points in their home matches in the current season, exactly as many as they did in the preceding ISL campaign.

It is safe to say that they have bought into Coyle’s ideas fairly well so far. They have forced 7.7 high turnovers per match in ISL 2023-24, which means winning the ball back within 40 meters of the opposition’s goal.

This is the second-highest aggregate after FC Goa (8.2 per match) this term, which shows that the Marina Machans take an active approach in pressing higher up the field and recovering possession.

However, they need to close out games neatly in the rest of the season, having conceded 17 goals in the second half of matches so far already, which is the highest amongst all teams concerned.

Hyderabad FC

Hyderabad FC has had a disappointing campaign, with their winless run across the previous season and the current one spanning to 20 matches now.

This is the longest such stretch for any team in the history of the competition. Similarly, they have not kept a clean sheet in 18 games either.

Overall, there has arguably been a lack of ingenuity in their gameplay. For example, 14.9% of their total passes this season have been long ones, which is the second-lowest share amongst all teams after Mumbai City FC (14.8%).

However, the Islanders have a definite playing style that they subscribe to, whereas Hyderabad FC is still finding their footing amidst a lot of uncertainties regarding their squad.

All the team can hope for at the moment is to take inspiration from their performance in the last game. They didn’t give up despite conceding twice early on and finally found a breakthrough to take a point from the match.

Their frontline needs to show similar resolve to get things done positively at their end in the coming encounter.

Key Players to Watch Out

Jordan Murray (Chennaiyin FC)

Jordan Murray is a proven ISL performer and he was the star of the show against Odisha FC with his added time winner. Overall, the striker has notched four goals and two assists in 15 league appearances this season.

He has won 55 aerial duels, with his goal against the Juggernauts coming off a headed effort too. Murray has taken 25 shots out of which 15 have been launched on target.

He has created seven goal-scoring opportunities, averaged 14 passes per game at 62% accuracy, and often is the target man on whom most of the attacks by Chennaiyin FC are directed to.

Having recorded a goal contribution every 122 minutes, Murray will be keen to get his numbers up in all concerned parameters with timely strikes in the coming encounters.

Makhan Chothe (Hyderabad FC)

Makhan Chothe brought an end to his goal-scoring drought by opening his account with a strike in the previous game against the Highlanders.

The young attacker has always been in the lookout for breakthroughs in the opposition’s final third. Overall, Chothe has earned eight fouls, made two interceptions and one block to sum up his numbers on the defensive front.

He has averaged 14 passes in every appearance, with 73% accuracy. He has attempted 15 shots in total, and has consistently emerged as someone from the Hyderabad FC ranks who takes shots both from distance as well as from closer areas inside the box.

He will want the goal in the last match to set the base for perhaps more refined performances with tangible outputs going forward.

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Played – 9

Chennaiyin FC - 4

Hyderabad FC – 3

Draws – 2

Trivia: Hyderabad FC’s Abdul Rabeeh is averaging 11 progressive carries per game in the ISL since the start of 2024, the highest such aggregate among all players in this period.

Team Talk

“We have been very consistent in the last four games. We beat Kerala Blasters FC, could have beaten Mumbai, against East Bengal FC we created many chances. We have been playing well and it was a fantastic performance against Odisha FC,” Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle said in the pre-match press conference.

“The youngsters have been trying hard with a couple of senior players. All the hard work has been rewarded internally. We have no pressure, but yes the result against NEUFC was a big boost for everyone involved,” Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto said prior to the game.

ISL Fantasy

Jordan Murray (6.5cr)

Scored the winner for Chennaiyin FC in the last game

Debjit Majumder (3.5cr)

Has earned 41 fantasy points so far

Makhan Chothe (3.8cr)

Bagged seven fantasy points in Matchweek 18

If not registered already, fans can participate in the overall league or club-based leagues based on their preferences. Create private leagues, inviting friends and fellow football aficionados to compete. Prizes include a Sony PlayStation ®️ ️5 gaming console, EA Sports FC 24, signed club merchandise, and a Gift Card worth INR 20,000, which will be awarded to 100 winners at the end of the season. Sign up at:

Where to Watch

Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 HD (English), Sports18 3 SD (English, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), News 18 Kerala (Malayalam – select matches) & DD Bangla (Bengali). Fans can also catch the action streaming Live for free on JioCinema, the home of Indian football. In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.