ANI Photo | Chennaiyin FC look to build on momentum against Hyderabad FC

The Matchweek 19 of Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 will begin with Chennaiyin FC locking horns against Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium on March 9, at 7:30 pm IST.
Chennaiyin FC produced an upset of sorts in the previous game, breaking the 13-game-long unbeaten streak of Odisha FC by inflicting a 2-1 loss upon them at home last Sunday.
The Marina Machans are placed 11th in the table right now, with 18 points from 17 games. However, the dynamics of the standings are such that a victory here will take them to 21 points from 18 games.
That is exactly the number of points garnered by Bengaluru FC in 18 matches, and they are stationed at the sixth spot and are very much in contention to secure qualification to the playoffs.
Hence, so deep into the campaign, the contest for the top six is still intensely on, with Chennaiyin FC hoping to break into those places with inspired outings in their final five games of the campaign.
For Hyderabad FC, all the remaining matches are an opportunity to showcase that their young brigade can lay the foundation that the club can hope to build upon in the coming seasons.
They overcame a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 against NorthEast United FC in the last game, and that could push them to go one step ahead and notch their maiden victory of the campaign this time around.
Chennaiyin FC does not boast of the best of recent records against Hyderabad FC, having won only once in their previous five games in front of them. This time around, they will be chasing their first league double over them since the 2019-20 campaign.
However, head coach Owen Coyle has stressed the fact that his team thrives playing at home, having won thrice in their previous four games on their home turf.
In fact, they have won 13 points in their home matches in the current season, exactly as many as they did in the preceding ISL campaign.
It is safe to say that they have bought into Coyle’s ideas fairly well so far. They have forced 7.7 high turnovers per match in ISL 2023-24, which means winning the ball back within 40 meters of the opposition’s goal.
This is the second-highest aggregate after FC Goa (8.2 per match) this term, which shows that the Marina Machans take an active approach to pressing higher up the field and recovering possession.
However, they need to close out games neatly in the rest of the season, having conceded 17 goals in the second half of matches so far already, which is the highest amongst all teams concerned.
Hyderabad FC has had a disappointing campaign, with their winless run across the previous season and the current one spanning to 20 matches now.
This is the longest such stretch for any team in the history of the competition. Similarly, they have not kept a clean sheet in 18 games either.
Overall, there has arguably been a lack of ingenuity in their gameplay. For example, 14.9% of their total passes this season have been long ones, which is the second-lowest share amongst all teams after Mumbai City FC (14.8%).
However, the Islanders have a definite playing style that they subscribe to, whereas Hyderabad FC is still finding their footing amidst a lot of uncertainties regarding their squad.
All the team can hope for at the moment is to take inspiration from their performance in the last game. They didn’t give up despite conceding twice early on and finally found a breakthrough to take a point from the match.

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