Image Courtesy: Indian Super League Media Team
Tuesdaya s clash between North East United FC (NEUFC) and Chennaiyin FC throws together two teams that seem to be on different positions on the same race course (that of recovering from successive defeats and turning them into wins).
While Chennaiyin have already managed to turn things around, from their initial two losses, NEUFC are yet to register a single point on the board. However, NEUFC have already faced, what seems to be three strong teams, this season, and things could only get better from here on end.
Although they have been playing decent football, NEUFC have been losing out in the second half, when they have been getting stretched by their opponents. Out of the seven goals that they have conceded, till now (from three matches), five have come in the second half.
Speaking on the ISL official website, coach Cesar Farias seemed to reiterate this point. He said, a We know we had to play with some constraints at the beginning because not having six-eight players makes you play the same players for 90 minutes. Then players tend to make mistakes due to fatigue.
a For example, in the Pune game when they put the subs in they were better in the game because they had fresh legs out there and it makes a difference,a he continued. a But we are now starting to solve this and the stability that we need; and we have fresher legs so we are looking forward to our next games.a
Farias and his men however, would have their work cut out against a resurgent Chennaiyin FC side, who have done well to win their last two games on the trot, after losing the opening couple of matches, on the season.
Forward Stiven Mendoza is the biggest threat to the North East goal, with the Colombian already having found a rich vein of form, becoming the current highest scorer in the league, with five goals from four appearances, with an incredible shot conversion rate of 41.67 per cent.
NEUFC, who have a crazy fan following in Guwahati, have been looking to the stands for some inspiration, in their recent matches, and that is exactly what they would be doing in this match as well.
a Therea s nothing more motivational than seeing the people here in Guwahati. They love the team and football. Theya re passionate for it,a said Farias.
Whether the Guwahati fans can act as the 12th man for NEUFC against a resurgent Chennaiyin side, remains to be seen, as the Chennai-based team tries to break back into the top-four of the league.