Goa, Dec 17: After a terrific start to the season, NorthEast United will be keen to consolidate their place among the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) Season 7’s frontrunners and extend their unbeaten streak when they lock horns with Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Friday.
The Highlanders will be pleased with the start they’ve had this campaign after six games. A victory on Friday will put them level on points with table-toppers FC Mumbai City and second-placed ATK Mohun Bagan.
NEUFC Team News
NEUFC found themselves in a similar position the previous season, remaining unbeaten after six games. But two back-to-back defeats saw their momentum slip as they endured a disappointing ninth-place finish.
However, if they manage to avoid a defeat against Jamshedpur, the Guwahati-based side would achieve their best-ever unbeaten run in history.
“We are working hard to be sure we’re not going to lose,” Nus said. “We try to go for the three points in every single game but I’m not worried (about losing). The most important thing is (that) we keep progressing, improving and we stick to our identity.”
“If we get the three points tomorrow, it will be the best (unbeaten) start for us, so looking forward to that,” he added.
NorthEast will have to be wary of Jamshedpur striker Nerijus Valskis, who is currently the joint top-scorer alongside FC Goa’s Igor Angulo. The Red Miners have been dependent on the Lithuanian upfront, and he has scored six of his team’s sevens goals so far.
JFC Team News
Like NorthEast, Jamshedpur are heading into the game after successive draws. A win for Owen Coyle’s men, placed seventh, could enhance their chances of making it into the top four.
Jamshedpur will miss the presence of the suspended midfielder Aitor Monroy, who picked up a red card in the previous game against Mumbai. They will have to ensure they control the midfield and stop NorthEast United’s forwards from getting the service they want.
The defence, marshaled by Stephen Eze and Peter Hartley will also have to play a big role to keep NorthEast’s attacking force quiet. So far, only Mumbai have scored more goals than the Highlanders this season.
Coyle expects a tough challenge from his counterparts but also believes in his team’s abilities.
“They (NorthEast) are a good team, they have shown they are hard-working and it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “We have enormous respect for them but it’s also a game we’re looking forward to. We know that if we’re at our very best, it’s a game we can win.”
NorthEast United FC Squad:
Goalkeepers: Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhashish Roy
Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Rakesh Pradhan, Wayne Vaz
Midfielders: Federico Gallego, Imran Khan, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela
Forwards: Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Kwesi Appiah, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhari Vadakkepeedika
Jamshedpur FC Squad:
Goalkeepers: TP Rehenesh, Pawan Kumar, Niraj Kumar, Raj Mahato, Vishal Yadav.
Defenders: Peter Hartley, Stephen Eze, Narender Gehlot, Joyner Lourenco, Laldinliana Renthlei, Karan Amin, Manash Protim Gogoi, Sandip Mandi, Ricky Lallawmawma, Subhash Barua.
Midfielders: Aitor Monroy, Alex Lima, Jackichand Singh, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Issac Vanmalsawma, Amarjit Singh, Mobashir Rahman, Jitendra Singh, Manisana Singh, Harsha Parui, Billu Teli, Gorachand Mardi, Gaurab, Bhupender Singh.
Forwards: Nerijus Valskis, David Grande, Aniket Jadhav, Sapam Kennedy Singh, William Lalnunfela
Date: Dec. 18 (Friday)
Time: 7:30pm IST
Live on: Star Sports Network
Live Streaming on: Disney+ Hotstar VIP, Jio TV
Source: ISL Media
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