Indian Super League, Round 16
Hyderabad FC face NorthEast United on Sunday as both teams look for a crucial win, to secure a position in the top-4. Ahead of this game, we take a look at the squads, the opponents, the key men, and more…
Round 10: NorthEast United FC 2-4 Hyderabad FC (Aridane 3’; Chianese 36’; Liston 85’, 90+4’ | Gallego 45’ [P]; Lambot 45+2’)
Jan 8, Tilak Maidan, Vasco
Hyderabad FC picked up a late win against NorthEast United in their final game of the first leg of the fixtures, in January. An early goal from Aridane Santana set the stage for a dominating performance from Manolo Marquez’s men in the first half until Federico Gallego and Benjamin Lambot cancelled our 2-0 lead, with quick goals, just before the halftime whistle.
HFC showed resilience as they continued to press hard in search of a goal. Coming in at the hour mark, Liston Colaco injected pace and purpose into the game as he scored a fantastic brace in the final minutes of the game to secure an emphatic victory against the Highlanders.
Starting the season on an unbeaten run of six games, NorthEast United are back on the unbeaten track after a patch of mixed results. Since the sides last met, NEUFC have made some major changes to their squad which includes Khalid Jamil taking over as interim coach in place of Gerard Nus and Deshorn Brown from Bengaluru FC joining in as a replacement for the injured striker, Kwesi Appiah.
As the league table stands, Goa, Hyderabad, and NorthEast are tied at 22 points having played 15 games each. With three wins in their last four games, the Highlanders look determined as they eye a spot in the top-4.
Hyderabad FC will come into the game with a confident mindset after sealing a crucial victory against Chennaiyin FC last week. The clash against the Highlanders promises to be a nail-biting contest as both teams will look to secure their spot in the top-4, going into the business end of the tournament.
Federico Gallego (NEUFC)
After scoring a brace against FC Goa on Thursday, Gallego will be confident coming into the game against Hyderabad. With four goals and four assists to his name, Gallego has been one of the most influential players for NEUFC. The midfielder could trouble the Hyderabad backline with deceiving footwork, precise positioning, accurate passing and the ability to convert penalties. He also scored his side’s first when the two teams met earlier in the campaign and could be the danger man in this game.
Luis Machado (NEUFC)
A busy player on the left-wing, Machado has been the catalyst for most attacking movements initiated by his side. Constantly looking to create opportunities, the Portuguese winger is a lively presence on the field. He will look to add pressure on the Hyderabad defence with his pace, trickery and ability to work in tandem with Gallego and the NEUFC frontline.
A regular in the middle of the park for the Highlanders, Lalengmawia has shown his all-round game and is regarded as one of the best Indian youngsters in the ISL this season. His ability to beat the press, and act as the bridge between the backline and the attack makes him a dangerous player and his tussle with the HFC midfield could be a real treat to watch, even for the neutrals, in this tie.
Fran Sandaza (HFC)
Scoring two goals in his last two games, Sandaza, who was handed his first start for the club against Chennai, proved himself as a key player in the Hyderabad attack. With a burly physique, powerful presence, precise passing and clean finishing, the Spaniard could be a serious threat to the NorthEast backline. The NEUFC defenders will be also wary of Sandaza’s partnership with Santana, Colaco and Halicharan Narzary.
Hitesh Sharma (HFC)
Displaying great confidence on the ball, the young midfielder has become a key player in the middle of the pitch for Hyderabad. He could challenge the Highlanders with quick distribution of the ball, well-positioned runs in the attacking third and ability to negate threats at the back. He will play in tandem with Joao Victor and Mohammad Yasir to try and control the midfield against NorthEast United FC.
Odei Onaindia (HFC)
One of the most consistent players for his side, the Spanish defender has been instrumental in keeping clean sheets with his ability to thwart attacking threats from the opposition. He could be an obstacle for the NEUFC attackers with the help of his passing accuracy, instinctiveness in defence, and timely interceptions. He will work in tandem with Chinglensana Sana to hold the fort for Hyderabad FC on Sunday.