ISL 2019-20: NorthEast, Hyderabad seek to avoid wooden spoon

Hyderabad has notched just seven points from 17 matches. It has won just one match all season and has not kept even a single clean sheet. NorthEast has 13 points from 16 matches.

NorthEast United FC Interim Coach Khalid Jamil looks on as the players gear up for their ISL game against Hyderabad FC in Guwahati.   -  ISL

The bottom two in the Hero Indian Super League table go head-to-head when NorthEast United FC host Hyderabad FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Thursday.

NorthEast, which is currently second from bottom with 13 points from 16 matches, can potentially leapfrog Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters and finish as high as seventh if the results go its way. However, it does not take away the fact that it has been a disappointing campaign for the Highlanders.

Injuries to key players have not helped matters for NorthEast. Asamoah Gyan’s injury was a huge blow to its forward line and goals dried up after that. Irish striker Andy Keogh, who came in as a replacement, hasn’t had enough time to come good.

In what is its penultimate game of the season, interim coach Khalid Jamil has more concerns. Jose Leudo, Wayne Vaz and Redeem Tlang are all suspended while Komorski, Nikhil Kadam and Provat Lakra are injured.

“We are not thinking about Hyderabad FC. This is our penultimate home game. We will be going for three points. We cannot do much about the players who are suspended. It is beyond our control,” said Jamil.

The Highlanders last won a game about 12 matches ago, incidentally against Hyderabad. They will hope Federico Gallego and co. can break their winless run against the bottom-placed side.

Hyderabad has notched just seven points from 17 matches. Apart from finishing its final match of the season with a victory, interim coach Javier Lopez and team will be hoping to avoid registering the worst ever points tally in an ISL season.

Chennaiyin FC, which registered just nine points last year, hold the dubious record right now and Hyderabad needs to beat NorthEast to avoid that feat.

Hyderabad has won just one match all season and has not kept even a single clean sheet. This is one final chance for the team to lend some sort of respectability to its campaign. However, it will have to do so without the services of central defender Matthew Kilgallon and goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh.

“This has not been the best of seasons. The situation of the players was not the best when I arrived, but they are motivated to compete. We have been competitive, we got a draw against Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC. The only game where we didn't compete was against Goa. The next game is the last match of this season. Everyone is excited to finish with the three points,” said Lopez.

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