Preview: A desperate Jamshedpur FC need nothing less than three points to keep their Indian Super League play-offs hope alive as they take on bottom-placed Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Saturday.
Jamshedpur are placed fifth on the table but four points behind fourth-placed Mumbai City FC. The Men of Steel cannot afford to drop points anymore with just two matches remaining.
A loss against Chennaiyin FC will knock them out of contention while a draw will not do much good to their hopes. Coach Cesar Ferrando has his fair share of concerns, heading into this must-win tie.
The team is coming off a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of FC Pune City which put them in a precarious position. Their defensive frailties and susceptibility to counter-attacks were laid bare by an incisive Pune attack.
Ferrando will be hoping they will get some respite against a misfiring Chennaiyin FC attack who have scored only 16 goals so far.
"We need to win. But I know it will be a tough game against a good team. They signed a couple of good players in the past month. At the end of the season, we can look back at look at the problems in the team. But at this moment I'm only thinking about winning, said Ferrando.
Dominating the ball has not been Jamshedpur's problem, with the quality the likes of Memo and Mario Arques exude on the ball. Sergio Cidoncha and Carlos Calvo have also been aiding the build-up play with their creative and set-piece abilities.
But the lack of a clinical goalscorer has hurt them offensively. The return of influential winger Michael Soosairaj from injury should add teeth to their attack.
For Chennaiyin FC, the fixture will be all about ending their home season on a high. After their title defence went awfully wrong, the hosts are confirmed to finish bottom.
They have recorded just two wins and have just eight points from 16 matches. The least any team has managed in the ISL's five-year history is 11 points recorded by NorthEast United last season.
John Gregory and his team will be at least looking to better that mark and save themselves from embarrassment.
"It is our last home game of the Indian Super League season. Everyone is positive in the camp. We had a bad result last week, and there has been an extra effort in training from everyone. The players have a duty to perform in the remaining two ISL games. We are hoping we can beat Jamshedpur and affect the playoff positions," said the Englishman.
Given that this team managed to defeat Bengaluru FC in their previous home match, Jamshedpur will know they do not have a free path to three points.
(With inputs from PTI)
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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2019 22:01:16 IST