Matchday 98 of the Hero ISL will see Northeast United face their arch rivals Chennaiyin FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.
Blast from the past:
Back in December 2020, the reverse fixture saw both sides share spoils in 0-0 draw at the Tilak Maidan.
The Marina Machans are hopeful to finish the season on a high as they have crashed out of top 4 race for the ongoing season. Chennaiyin are on a 7 match winless run and they come into this tie following a 2-2 draw against FC Goa which saw them drop 2 points courtesy of an injury time equaliser by the Gaurs. Defensively, the Southern Giants maintain the fourth best defensive record in the league and have just let in 19 goals so far. But, they have had problems when it comes to scoring as they scored the least number of goals (13) this season. They are mathematically out of the play offs race and will turn up to play for their lost pride.
“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.
Northeast United FC:
Northeast United will be more than eager to get the better of Chennaiyin FC if they want a play-offs berth for themselves as the FC Goa and Hyderabad have turned on the ante. The Highlanders find themselves just outside the top four with a game in hand against their top 4 rivals. Northeast United come into this game on the back of a thumping 3-1 victory against Odisha, a game where their attacking intent was visible from the first whistle itself. Khalid Jamil has given his side alot of confidence and believe to build upon and it is being reflected in their results. Northeast United possess the fourth best offensive record in the league and have scored 24 goals, 11 of them coming in their last 6 games. The Highlanders maintain a great record against the Marina Machans and will be looking to add nothing less than a win to their tally.
“I think we have to be prepared. We should not take it easy. Like the last game, the players have put in a lot of effort. They have shown determination, they have shown character on the pitch. They have done very well. So, I hope tomorrow they will continue with the same spirit and we will try our best to win,” said assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew at the pre match press conference.
Players to watch out for:
Esmael Goncalves (Chennaiyin FC)
The Portuguese forward’s performance is a positive takeaway for Chennaiyin FC this season. He has had a major influence for the Marina Machans in the final third and he is also their highest goal scorer with 3 goals to his name.
Federico Gallego (Northeast United FC)
The Uruguayan lynchpin has regained his top form. The has scored 4 goals and has provided 4 assists too and has the maximum number of goal contributions in the Highlanders’ camp. He was also named at the Hero of the month for January for his magical display in the middle of the park.
Probable Starting XI:
Chennaiyin FC (4-3-2-1): Vishal(GK), Reagan, Sabia, Enes, Jerry, Memo, Edwin, Chhangte, Rahim, Lanzarote, Esmael.
Northeast United FC (4-3-3): Subhasish (GK), Ashutosh, Fox, Mashoor, Lakra, Lalengmawia, Camara, Gallego, Machado, Deshorn, Suhair.