NorthEast United FC will play their first match at the city of Nizams as they take on Hyderabad FC in Hyderabad on November 6.
All the negativity that surrounded Hyderabad FC’s poor start to the season was dispelled by their come-from-behind 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters FC in the previous game. Phil Brown’s side were at the receiving end of two heavy defeats away from home before finding some relief at home.
The Highlanders’ potent attack, led by the irrepressible Asamoah Gyan and Martin Chaves, will pose a huge threat to a fragile Hyderabad defence which is yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Youngster Redeem Tlang has also impressed and adds to the guile and pace of NorthEast United’s attack.
NorthEast United are undefeated in three matches so far. Though they have only one win, their two draws have come against strong sides in Bengaluru FC and FC Goa.
In fact, Robert Jarni’s side will count themselves unlucky not to have obtained all three points against Goa, after conceding a late stoppage-time equaliser.
“You never know how they (Hyderabad) are going to play. They won the last game, they are full of confidence and we have to prepare for them. (But) we are confident because we are still unbeaten, we played against the big teams in the league. (However), it will be a tough away match,” said Jarni.
While NorthEast could be considered favourites for this clash, Hyderabad have shown that they can pack a punch. It should make for exciting fare.
Hyderabad FC coach Phil Brown is wary of the attacking potential of the Highlanders and said that they are very organized defensively as well. “We know we are coming up against a very strong team and they got a lot of discipline in their team. They are very organised defensively. They have Gyan who is capable of winning a game on his own. But we have a team which has character,” said Brown.
After the last win, the task for Hyderabad FC is to build on the result and boost the morale of the squad. However, Brown’s task is still unenviable, given the fact that key players are still missing due to injury and suspensions. The likes of Bobo, Rafael Gomez, Giles Barnes are all injured while Nestor Gordillo is still serving a ban.
“I don’t think we have moved past all the injuries, there are four big players still injured. What we tend to do is to focus on what we have. We focused on the players that are available to us. That was the most important thing,” said Brown.
The bright spot for Hyderabad FC will be the form of Marcelinho. The Brazilian forward struck a brilliant free-kick winner against Kerala Blasters and scored a goal in their 3-1 defeat to Jamshedpur FC. He will be Hyderabad’s talisman against a solid NorthEast United.