Two underdog clubs of the season, Northeast and Jamshedpur, will lock horns in the Friday encounter of the Indian Football League 2020-21. Both sides have earned 7 points from the previous five fixtures, but Northeast finds the spot in the top four with a 3-point advantage over the Red Miners.
Match Timings: Dec 18, 7:30 PM IST
Northeast will face Jamshedpur in Tilak Maiden to eye three points after two successive draws. They are unbeaten in the tournament with 10 points, and they have moved to fourth after Bengaluru's 2-1 victory over Odisha last night. Northeast is having the best season this year, but they would avoid any drama in the middle half of the tournament. With adding 8 points from the first four matches, they were held for a draw from Bengaluru and Chennai. In the previous game, they failed to score a goal for the first time this season. After a busy first half, both sides turned its defense strong and avoided any scoring. Northeast got few chances, but they couldn’t break Chennai’s deadlock.
We saw the one obvious approach in Northeast’s team combination as they picked a different eleven in each game, and Gerard Nus has utilised 21 players this season already. It means the Highlanders is still not sure about its best XI, and it cost them four points in the last two fixtures. Nus has a different take on this approach as he is trying the player according to the opponents.
The defense has been a key factor for Northeast this season, but they lack in the attack. Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, and Gurjinder Kumar led the defense and played a big role in maintaining the unbeaten streak. They haven’t showcased the attacking brilliance in the forward line. Without Federico Gallego, Highlanders is facing issues, and Nus is trying different midfield players for every match.
Meanwhile, Jamshedpur have improved the performance after the defeat in the season opener. Since the defeat to Chennai, the Red Miners have drawn four games and won one out of five. They held strong Mumbai to take three points despite going 10-men down. Nerijus Valskis opened the scoring for Jamshedpur through an error from Ogbeche. Ogbeche took the favour back and scored a fine equaliser through the assist of Bipin. Monroy was sent off in the 30th minute and all the pressure formed against Jamshedpur, but they showed a different game against Sergio Lobero’s side. The defense led by Hartley and Stephen Eze stopped Ogbeche to score any goal in the second half. TP Rehenesh also made few excellent saves, including the stunning save of the season in the 83rd minute, and the 10-men Red Miners shared the points with Mumbai.
Both sides faced each other four times in Indian Football League, and all matches ended in a draw. In last season, both witnessed a six-goal thriller to split the points. Nus will make changes in the squad to follow a similar approach, and Jamshedpur will be without the service of Monroy, who will serve a one-match suspension on Friday. Northeast look slightly better here, and it will be a good contest between the defense of both sides.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Lineup: TP Rehenesh, Stephen Eze, Peter Hartley (C), Karan Amin, Ricky Lallawmawma, Mohammad Mobashir, Jackichand Singh, Alexandre Lima, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, William Lalnunfela, Nerijus Valskis
Current Form: D D W D D
Previous match: 1-1 draw with Mumbai
Lineup: Gurmeet, Gurjinder Kumar, Ashutosh Mehta, Dylan Fox, Benjamin Lambot, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia (C), Ninthoinganba Meetei, Idrissa Sylla, Suhair Vadakkepeedika, Luis Machado
Current Form: D D W D D
Previous match: a goalless draw with Chennai
15 goals & 6 assists in Indian Football League 2019-20
5 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
5 goals in Indian Football League 2019-20
2 goal in Indian Football League 2020-21
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21