NorthEast United FC aim to finish with a victory of ISL season 2019-20
Our Sports Reporter
GUWAHATI: NorthEast United FC will play their last match of the ISL season 2019-20 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here tomorrow. Chennaiyin FC will be their opponent in the tie which will kick off at 7-30 in the evening.
Chennaiyin FC, already qualified for the play-offs, would definitely try to win the match to stay better position at the points table which can help them to avoid the table-topper in the semi-finals
Visitors are currently fourth on the table with 28 points, two shy of third-placed Bengaluru FC. A draw or a defeat would mean that they would face league-toppers FC Goa in the play-offs. If they pick a win over the Highlanders here, a battle with second-placed ATK awaits them in the two-legged semi-finals.
A lot would depend on coach Owen Coyle’s plans and whether he would look to hand an opportunity to his fringe players. Lucian Goian, Rafael Crivellaro, and Nerijus Valskis have picked up three yellow cards this season and one more in the final league game would mean that they miss the first leg of the play-offs.
Addressing pre-match press conference here today the coach said, “First of all, we want to win the game. We have three boys on three yellow cards. It will be really naive to put them on and take a risk. So those players will be rested. Ultimately, you have to beat the best teams to win. Be it FC Goa or ATK. They are very good teams with perfect coaches. So when that comes, we will think about it. But still, we want to win tomorrow’s game,” said Coyle.
NorthEast United have their own battles to face. They suffered a humiliating 1-5 loss to Hyderabad FC last week and the Highlanders would be desperate to make amends in front of their home supporters and finish their season on a good note.
It has been a disappointing campaign for NorthEast as they failed to get going after a good start. Injuries to key players like Asamoah Gyan, Kai Heerings didn’t help as they struggled to find the back of the net.
The side could only manage 14 goals from 17 outings, which means averaging less than a goal per match. Interim coach Khalid Jamil today said the media: “This is the last match. Everybody will give their best and we will try to finish on a winning note. Chennaiyin have a good team. They did not start well but they recovered nicely.”
He also added: “I would like to give chances to my players in this game who have not played many times this season,” said Jamil. IANS