The Marina Machans clinched the three points in the last meeting.
A lowly NorthEast United FC will potentially be the perfect fodder for Chennaiyin FC to launch a push for a place in the top-four and swing back to winning ways when the two sides lock horns in the Indian Super League at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.
Chennaiyin sit seventh in the points table with 15 points from 11 games, tied with ATK Mohun Bagan who are sixth having missed three of their games due to postponements.
A win will see the former champions jump to third as Jamshedpur FC and Mumbai City, who were scheduled to play on Friday, are also out of action due to the game being pushed back to a later date.
Chennaiyin have blown hot and cold this season, looking solid defensively but lacking teeth more often than not on the attacking third. Anirudh Thapa has been a vital cog in their wheel, as expected, the skipper providing 10 assists so far.
He has now provided an assist in 5 of the 6 seasons of the ISL he has featured in. Thapa’s best season in terms of assists came in the ISL 19-20 season when he provided 6 assists.
Chennaiyin coach Božidar Bandović has work to do in his midfield though as chances have not been created as much as they should have.
“We need to improve in attacking and decision making. I believe for the future of the team, we need to make a stronger team. We have prepared well and we need to try and move the ball. The most important game is tomorrow,” Bandović said.
NorthEast United dropped to the bottom of the table after SC East Bengal recorded their first win of the campaign, further bringing to the fore the Highlanders’ plight this season. Khalid Jamil’s side are currently on a five-match winless run and they need to arrest the slide fast in order to stay relevant. The defence has been porous to say the least, leaking 25 goals so far, the most by any team this season.
They were comprehensively beaten by Odisha FC in the last fixture and Jamil would hope they can steady their ship with a win on Saturday. The last time the two teams met, Chennaiyin logged a 2-1 win.
Vladimir Koman and Ariel Borysiuk are likely to return for this game. Ariel and Koman missed the game against Hyderabad FC while Valskis was hauled off after the hour mark with what seemed to have been an injury to him. But the Lithuanian too is declared fit for tomorrow’s match.
The eight-day break after their previous game has allowed Bozidar Bandovic to retain his entire squad fully fit. Therefore, the players will be fresh and ready to compete after a good break.
For NorthEast United, Deshorn Brown is doubtful while Rochharzela is ruled out due to a season-ending shoulder injury.
Chennaiyin FC and Northeast United have faced each other fifteen times in the league. Khalid Jamil’s men have had their opposition’s number six times while Chennaiyin FC have triumphed four times against the Highlanders. There have been three draws in this fixture.
The last game these two played resulted in a 2-1 win for Chennaiyin FC with CFC skipper Thapa scoring the winner.
Chennaiyin FC: Debjit (GK), Reagan, Sajid, Damjanovic, Narayan, Jerry, Germanpreet, Thapa (C), Chhangte, Mirlan, Valskis.
Northeast United FC: Mirshad (GK), Provat Lakra, Flottmann, Mashoor, Gurjinder, Imran, Pragyan, Hernan (C), Suhair, Laldanmawia, Brown.
Did You Know?
- Northeast United have the lowest goals-to-games ratio in the history of the ISL (1.09 goals/game).
- Northeast United’s Mirshad Michu has made the most saves this season (30).
- Chennaiyin FC make the second most number of clearances per match in the ISL this season (23 per game).
- Northeast United have the highest expected goals conceded this season (24.9), it is almost 1.5 times higher than the next highest (SC East Bengal with 16.8).
The Chennaiyin FC vs NorthEast United match will be played at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim. The game will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network. The match will also be live streamed on the Disney+Hotstar platform and the JioTV app.