NorthEast United FC will look to maintain the clean record at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday as the Highlanders play their first away match of the Indian Super League season against Chennaiyin FC. The Northeast side haven’t lost in Chennai.
Getting a shot in the arm after the return of India midfielder Rowllin Borges who was out of action for the first match against Jamshedpur FC due to injury, the John Abraham-owned side will look for full points as they move ahead in the league.
The Highlanders were left to kick themselves after failing to secure a result against Jamshedpur FC in the opening match at home. The hosts were dominant but lacked the final touch even when Jamshedpur FC were reduced to 10 men late in the second half.
NorthEast United FC created plenty of chances and had more shots on goal than any other team in the first round but that isn’t really a cause for concern.
“We created a lot of chances and didn’t get a goal but for me that is not a problem. We know how to reach there. I can tell you that I am not worried that we didn’t score. At the end of the league, we will have the top goal scorer,” said NorthEast United coach Joao de Deus.
NorthEast United are among the two teams who have never qualified for the playoffs but the coach will not delve too much on the past.
“I have nothing to say about the past. I am not here to speak about the past of my team. I was not here. I am here to speak about the present and the future. We are improving,” said the coach, who will be able to pick Rowllin Borges in his team after the India midfielder trained fully on Wednesday.
On the other side, Chennaiyin FC will have to fight form and history as they seek to open their account against NorthEast United FC.
Chennaiyin FC were stunned by FC Goa with a three-goal blitz inside the first half an hour on Sunday. Chennaiyin FC did manage to fight back with two goals in the second half but still lost to the visitors. They are now aiming to claw back but it will not be easy against NorthEast United, who have never lost at the venue during the past three seasons.
“We have to try and correct our performance. We get our chance very quickly. We want to get back on the field and try to make up for that losson Sunday,” said coach John Gregory.
When reminded that NorthEast United haven’t lost in Chennai, the man who replaced Marco Materazzi didn’t seem perturbed. “Records are there to be broken. Statistics come up all the time,” he said during the pre-match press conference.