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Sports


NorthEast United FC host Hyderabad FC tomorrow in Hero ISL

Guwahati, Feb 19 (UNI) NorthEast United FC welcome Hyderabad FC at the Indira Gandhi
Athletic Stadium here on Thursday.
The Hero Indian Super League campaign has been a forgettable one for both sides, as
they head into the final Gameweek placed at the wrong end of the table. Nonetheless,
finishing on a successful note will be on each of their agendas and would go a long way
in giving their loyal fans something to cheer for after an under par season.
In the only meeting between the pair earlier in the campaign, the Highlanders scored
late from the spot to seal all three points.
The Hero ISL 2018-19 semi-finalists would have been disappointed to have lost their
last match against Odisha FC even after taking the lead. They looked lively, especially
in the first thirty minutes of the encounter, and could have gotten more than they
eventually did on the night. Inefficiency in front of goal was once again their primary
problem and has been so ever since the departure of striker Asamoah Gyan.
The Ghanaian was terrific to say the least in the first part of the season and is still the
club’s highest scorer in Hero ISL 2019-20 with four goals to his name. Besides being
potent in front of goal, Gyan also helped those around him excel, with winger Redeem
Tlang and forward Martin Chaves being the biggest beneficiaries.
However, since the 34-year-old’s departure due to injury a couple of months back,
both Tlang and Chaves have found it hard to affect games. New signings like Andrew
Keogh and Simon Lundevall, too, have struggled to settle down and NorthEast fans
will be hoping for a lot more from the duo in the team's remaining two fixtures.
Defensively, the Highlanders have been decent with Mislav Komorski and Kai Heerings
forming a solid pairing and will hope to keep the Hyderabad attack at bay come Thursday.
The Highlanders will, however, be without four crucial first team players in Redeem Tlang,
Jose Leudo, Rakesh Pradhan and Wayne Vaz for the match due to suspensions.
A 90th minute Sumeet Passi header denied Hyderabad what would have been only their
second win of the season last Thursday. Javier Lopez and Co. seemed determined for
almost the entire fixture against Jamshedpur, with multiple players stepping up and giving
good accounts of themselves.
Playmaker Nestor Benitez, who scored on the night, was especially impressive and
Hyderabad fans will hope the Spaniard can shine once again to help the team to a
positive result against the Highlanders.
Ever since Lopez took over the reins of the club in an interim capacity, Hyderabad have
been resolute and compact at the back, conceding very few chances and showing good
promise on the break. Goals, though, have been still hard to come by with talisman
Marcelo Pereira not enjoying his best campaign in the Hero ISL.
The over dependence on striker Bobo for the goals has been a feature of the club’s
attack this term, and it will be something they will be working hard to avoid next season.
With Thursday's match set to be Hyderabad's final outing in Hero ISL 2019-20, the team
will be looking to bow out on a positive note, ideally in the shape of a win against
NorthEast.
Probable line-ups:
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish Roy (GK), Mislav Komorski, Kai Heerings, Nim Dorjee,
Reagan Singh, Lalengmawia, Milan Singh, Ninthoi, Federico Gallego, Andrew Keogh,
Martin Chaves
Hyderabad FC: Laxmikant Kattimani (GK), Sahil Panwar, Matthew Kilgallon, Souvik
Chakrabarti, Adil Khan, Nestor Jesus Benitez, Marko Stankovic, Nikhil Poojary, Marcelo
Pereira, Liston Colaco, Bobo.
UNI XC-BM
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