NorthEast United FC will hope to make a decisive push to storm into top-six when Hyderabad FC hosts them at the Gachibowli Stadium in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on March 4, Monday, at 7:30 pm IST.

Having lost just one of their last 4 matches, the Highlanders are now within an arm’s length of the playoffs spots. They have 19 points from 16 games, placing them at the eighth place in the table.

Thus, they are just two points behind the sixth-placed Bengaluru FC (21), having two games in hand as compared to the Blues who have already played 18 matches.

The Highlanders have secured victories against East Bengal FC and FC Goa since the season resumed after the break at the halfway mark. They gave Mohun Bagan Super Giant a tough run for their money amidst a 4-2 defeat and held Jamshedpur FC to a 1-1 draw.

Returning to action after 11 days, the Juan Pedro Benali-coached side must have had ample time to reflect and recharge for the next six games against a Hyderabad FC unit that is winless after 17 games, losing all five of their previous encounters this season.

What’s at stake?

Hyderabad FC

Form might not be favouring them, but Hyderabad FC has a formidable past record against the Highlanders to fall back on. Indeed, they are unbeaten in their last eight fixtures against NorthEast United FC, winning six and drawing twice in the duration.

Against no other team has Hyderabad FC recorded a longer unbeaten streak in ISL history. However, the troubles in their frontline refuse to cool down, with the team failing to find the back of the net in each of their previous six home matches.

This is the longest such streak for any team in the history of the ISL. Another worrying sign has been their inability to start games on a strong footing, conceding seven goals in the first 15 minutes of their matches in the competition.

Contrastingly, the Highlanders like to push the opponent back early, scoring six goals in this phase of the game in ISL 2023-24, which is the joint-highest amongst all teams.

In all fairness, Hyderabad FC has had ample time to get a stock of their strengths, weaknesses, and the same of NorthEast United FC in the coming fixture. Whether they act on the same to produce inspiring performances on the field remains to be seen.

NorthEast United FC

Juan Pedro Benali has brought in many positives for NorthEast United FC lately, the most recent of them being breaking their 24-game-long winless streak in away matches by beating FC Goa by 2-0 at the Fatorda Stadium last month.

In fact, the last time they won consecutive away fixtures was a stretch of four games in October-November 2018, with Benali perhaps hoping to steer towards the same starting with this faceoff against Hyderabad FC.

Hyderabad FC and their recent streak of failing to score in home matches should encourage the Highlanders to seek their first run of successive clean sheets since November-December 2018.

Incidentally, the 2018-19 season was also the time when the Highlanders had made it to the semi-final under the watch of Eelco Schattorie, and they are on the brink of doing so again this time around.

There exists a sense of unpredictability in their frontline that can catch the opponent off-guard at any given moment. For instance, they have netted seven goals from outside the box this season, which is the joint-highest amongst all teams with Jamshedpur FC.

Thus, they have many tricks that they can pull off in the home of Hyderabad FC.

Key Players to Watch Out

Makan Chothe (Hyderabad FC)

Makan Chothe has been one of the industrious youngsters in the Hyderabad FC offensive unit in the second half of the season. Goal contributions have eluded him, but he has constantly been on the lookout of chances that he could create and convert in the final third.

He has attempted a total of 17 shots in the current ISL season, the second most among Indian players who are yet to score this season (Brandon Fernandes – 23). Chothe is averaging 13 passes per game at 71% accuracy, earning six fouls, creating two goal-scoring opportunities, and making an interception and a block each. Hyderabad FC will look at him to secure solutions upfront, once again.

Nestor Albiach (NorthEast United FC)

The Spanish talisman of NorthEast United FC has played an influential role in their attacking endeavours in this campaign. Nestor Albiach has secured three goals and assists each in 14 appearances this season, making 28 passes per game at 75% accuracy.

The attacker has earned 19 fouls, making three blocks and four interceptions, taking 27 shots out of which 12 have been on target and 25 directed off target. Nestor has also created 17 goal-scoring opportunities, forming a potent partnership with striker Tomi Juric. His crafty footwork, vision, and instincts upfront can be put to good use in the clash against Hyderabad FC.

Read More


Played – 9

NorthEast United FC – 6

Hyderabad FC – 1

Draws – 2

Trivia: Hyderabad FC’s Gurmeet Singh averages 2.2 saves from inside the box per game in the current ISL season, the highest among all goalkeepers in the competition, who have played a minimum of three games in the campaign.

Team Talk

“Not only Juric, but they have Nestor who has done well and they have a strong defence as well. They are not a team that plays risky or flashy football, but they have done very well,” Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto said ahead of the game.

“Teams have won against Hyderabad FC, but they have suffered. They have some very good young Indian talented players. It’s going to be a very tricky game, because they have nothing to lose, and everything to gain at this moment,” NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali said in the pre-match press conference.

ISL Fantasy

Gurmeet Singh (3.7cr)

Dependable presence between the posts for Hyderabad FC

Makhan Chothe (3.8cr)

Always in the lookout for goal contributions

Nestor Albiach (4.4cr)

Has recorded six goal contributions this season

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.