Preview: The bottom two sides in the Indian Super League table will go head-to-head when NorthEast United FC host Hyderabad FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Thursday.
It has been a season of woes for both Hyderabad and NorthEast and all that both sides have to play on Thursday is for pride. NorthEast, who are currently second from bottom with 13 points from 16 matches, can potentially leapfrog Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters and finish as high as seventh if results go their way.
However, it does not take away the fact that it has been a disappointing campaign for the Guwahati-based side.
Injuries to key players have not helped matters for NorthEast. Asamoah Gyan's injury was a huge blow to their forward line and goals dried up after that. Irish striker Andy Keogh, who came in as a replacement, has not had enough time to come good.
In what is their penultimate game of the season, interim coach Khalid Jamil has more concerns. Jose Leudo, Wayne Vaz and Redeem Tlang are all suspended while Komorski, Nikhil Kadam and Provat Lakra are injured.
"We are not thinking about Hyderabad FC. This is our penultimate home game. We will be going for three points. We cannot do much about the players who are suspended. It is beyond our control," said Jamil.
NorthEast last won a game 12 matches ago, incidentally against Hyderabad. They will hope to snap their winless run against the bottom-placed side.
Hyderabad have notched up just seven points from 17 matches. Apart from hoping to finish their final match of the season with a victory, interim coach Javier Lopez and team will be looking to avoid registering the worst ever points tally in an ISL edition.
Chennaiyin FC, who registered just nine points last year, hold the dubious record right now and unless Hyderabad manages to beat NorthEast, the feat will be theirs.
Hyderabad have won just one match all season and have not kept even a single clean sheet. This is one final chance for them to lend some sort of respectability to their campaign.
However, they will have to do so without the services of central defender Matthew Kilgallon and goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh.
"This has not been the best of seasons. The situation of the players was not the best when I arrived, but they are motivated to compete. We have been competitive, we got a draw against Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC. The only game where we didn't compete was against FC Goa," said head coach Javier Lopez.
"The next game is the last match of this season. Everyone is excited to finish with the three points."
Content courtesy: PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2020 22:20:23 IST