Two mid-table sides, Northeast and Hyderabad, will face each other in the Friday encounter of the Indian Football League 2020-21. Hyderabad are coming off a dominating victory against Chennai, while Northeast started the New Year with a loss against the Mariners.
Match Timings: Jan 08, 7:30 PM IST
Hyderabad and Northeast both had a downfall in a couple of weeks as both sides started dropping points after a positive start to the season. Hyderabad sorted out its issues and won its first match in 2021 with a pure dominant display. The Nizams broke their 3-matches losing streak and earned three points against Chennai. Both sides canceled out each other in the goalless first half. Aridane Santana created an opportunity for Joel Chianese in the very first minute, but Vishal Kaith saved it with his right hand.
Chennai conceded an easy goal in the 50th minute as Joel Chinease took advantage of the confusion between Eli Sabia and Vishal Kaith. They doubled its lead three minutes later with a brilliant strike from Halicharan Narzary. Chennai made few substitutions, and Anirudh Thapa opened the scoring for Chennai and sent the ball past Laximakant Kattimani in the 67th minute. Hyderabad had a glorious day, and Joao Victor made it 3-1 with another strike in the 74th minute. Narzary completed his brace with another strike five minutes later. Marina Machans had no answer against Hyderabad’s attack.
Narzary’s form is a great sign from an Indian point of view. Hyderabad kept its Indian unit strong with a good balance of youngsters and experienced. You can sit and admire players like Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Akash Mishra, Liston Colaco, Md Yasir, and Halicharan Narzary. Laxmikant Kattimani is a big concern for the Nizams. He failed to keep a clean sheet and couldn’t save the easy cross from Reagan Singh and laid the ball at Anirudh Thapa's feet. He had made such mistakes in the past, and Hyderabad has to solve this issue if they want to see themselves in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Northeast are seeing a slight downfall to its performance, and they dropped points for the 5th consecutive match. They have drawn three of those but two defeats are the main concern. Highlanders lost to Mariners in its first clash of this year. Habas’ side looked promising good from the first half. The mariners got the best half-chances when Prabir Das got a decent cross from Subhasish Bose, but his header went wide. The first saw no goal from any side. Mariners are known as the second-half team, and Northeast gave an easy chance to them. In the 51st minute, Roy Krishna netted a goal as Tiri deflected Edu Garcia’s corner-kick to deliver a good pass to Fijian. After six minutes, Benjamin Lambot delivered his own goal to offer a 2-0 lead to Habas’ side. Rochharzela and Idrissa Sylla had chances to score, but they failed to take them. Gallego also came close with a free-kick, but it hit the cross-bar.
Gerard Nus’ extra experiments didn’t prove worthy. He replaced Gurjinder Kumar with Provat Lakra, and Lakra had an average outing. The three-man forward-line hadn't played together, which cost them three points. Appiah was also out from the previous game, and he might be unavailable for this match too. Idrissa Sylla has a big responsibility in the absence of Ghanaian but Sylla’s performance is not convincing. Both sides met twice in the competition, and they have one win each. Hyderabad defeated Highlanders in most previous outing 5-1, and in 2019, Northeast had the final laugh 1-0.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Gurmeet, Ashutosh Mehta, Dylan Fox, Benjamin Lambot, Provat Lakra, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Federico Gallego, VP Suhair, Rochharzela, Idrissa Sylla
Current Form: L D L D D
Previous match: 2-0 loss against Mohun B.
Laxmikant Kattimani; Asish Rai, Odei Onaindia, Chinglensana Singh, Akash Mishra; Joao Victor, Souvik Chakrabarti, Mohammed Yasir; Joel Chianese, Aridane Santana, Halicharan Narzary
Current Form: W L L L W
Previous match: 4-1 victory against Chennai
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
1 goal & 1 assist in Indian Football League 2020-21
5 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
3 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21