Goa: A formidable NorthEast United side will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run in the Indian Super League when they host Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Sunday.
The Highlanders, placed third on the Hero ISL table with eight points, have been among the early pacesetters this season, after 2 wins and 3 draws. Alongside Hyderabad FC and Bengaluru FC, they are the only side yet to suffer a defeat this season.
Both NorthEast United and Chennaiyin have faced each other during 12 meetings in the past, with Gerard Nus’ side holding the upper hand, winning six times while drawing thrice. This is their best win record against any opposition in the Hero ISL, and they will be aiming to continue that.
Chennaiyin, after back to back defeats, have only accumulated four points from as many games. But there have been plenty of positives for the two-time winners, who have constantly proved a threat for all their opponents.
Nus expects Chennaiyin FC to bounce back following their defeat to Mumbai City FC, where they remained alive in the game until the final whistle.
“Chennaiyin is going to be a competitive team,” said Nus. “We’ve seen the way they fight. In the last game (against Mumbai City), they didn’t get the result but they created chances and were dangerous. We expect a side that is going to come against us with commitment, aggressiveness and intensity. We have to be ready for it.”
“We have to be focused for 90 minutes. This is something we need to do with consistency.”
Northeast United are the joint-highest scorers so far this season (8). In defense, the Highlanders have also made it difficult for opponents to break them down, keeping two clean sheets. Chennaiyin coach Csaba Laszlo is aware of the threat posed by the Guwahati-based side but despite a few injury concerns, he expects his team to put up a tough challenge.
“NorthEast have had a very good start. They are a stable team. In offense, they have new players who have performed well. Generally, it’s a team that can score goals against every opponent. They have been dangerous. We must be prepared for this. At the same time, I believe in my team. We have our own style and strengths, which we want to use against them.”
With NorthEast keen to continue their unbeaten streak and Chennaiyin desperate to bounce back, the stakes will be high in this contest.