The outfits are involved in an exciting run for the top four places.
The Indian Super League 2020-21 will next see Hyderabad FC clash with NorthEast United on Sunday. The tie is shaping up to be a sensational one because of the huge stakes on the line.
Both Hyderabad and NorthEast United are gunning for one of the four playoffs positions. Three points against their direct competitors could be a blessing for either. Having witnessed plenty of draws lately, one would expect teams to intensify their gameplans at the business end of the competition.
Simply put, a maiden playoffs spot. The club is on the verge of securing their first-ever playoffs qualification. However, they are right in the middle of the tightest race for the top four in recent history.
Their 2-0 victory against Chennaiyin FC was a huge step in the right direction. The win came after a string of four consecutive draws, which had seemingly deflated their charge. Manolo Marquez did well in leading his troops against the Marina Machans and must do the same against the Highlanders.
The Highlanders are a different beast under Khalid Jamil. The outfit have won three and drawn the other since his arrival. A draw against FC Goa in their last fixture was a bittersweet result, since they had many chances to secure the win.
They are level on points with the Nizams and must go all-out to secure three points, that will put them in the driving seat for a playoffs position. The room for error is negligible and the outfit are on the verge of an impressive season.
Hyderabad FC will hope that Halicharan Narzary can start the game against NEUFC, as he recovers from an injury. The rest of the team picks itself ahead of the next game. All eyes will be on their full-backs in Asish Rai and Akash Mishra, who have run rampant around whichever opposition they have come up against.
In terms of injuries, there aren’t any major concerns, however, NEUFC will be without Ashutosh Mehta and Khassa Camara, who will miss out due to suspensions.
Both outfits have clashed three times before, out of which Hyderabad have won twice and NorthEast United once. Their last meeting ended in a 4-2 victory for the Nizams.
Hyderabad FC: Kattimani (GK); Rai, Chinglensena, Odei, Mishra; Yasir, Victor, Sharma; Sandaza; Aridane, Colaco.
NorthEast United: Chowdhury (GK); Fox, Lambot, Shereef, Gurjinder; Lalengmawia, Rochharzela, Machado, Ninthoi; Gallego, Brown.
Man to Watch
Asish Rai (Hyderabad FC)
Asish Rai has been the silent performer for Hyderabad FC. His consistency has been an asset for the tactician and the full-back has impressed with his industrious displays. The 22-year-old was awarded the Hero of the Match against Chennaiyin FC for his incredible performance on the right flank.
The opposition must be on the lookout for his overlapping runs and the player has vastly improved on his crossing into the box. His speed and work-rate make him a constant threat. His positional awareness during defensive duties has been solid too. Rai is a shining example of the brilliance shown by young domestic players for HFC this term.
Federico Gallego (NorthEast United)
Federico Gallego is hitting form at the right time for NEUFC’s liking. The Uruguayan was at the centre of everything positive in the final third against FC Goa and scored both goals from penalties to secure a point for his side. He is also their leading goalscorer with four strikes to his name.
The creative mind behind the Highlanders and their attacking gameplay, Gallego is deadly from set-pieces. He also drops deep to influence the ball movement and keeps the passes ticking. His vision with through balls is unmatched. The midfielder will pose the biggest threat to the Nizams and they must plan to contain him.
Did You Know?
- Hyderabad FC have never qualified for the playoffs in the ISL.
- NorthEast United are undefeated since Khalid Jamil took over as the interim head coach.
- Asish Rai has the most number of passes (645) among the HFC squad.
The match between Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC will be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.