ISL 2020-21 Preview: Unbeaten NorthEast United ready for Jamshedpur challenge 

Gerard Nus’ NorthEast United, third on the table, has dropped points in its last two games, drawing with Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC.

Jamshedpur, home to goal-scoring machine Nerijus Valskis, is on a five-match unbeaten streak.   -  Sportzpics/ISL

NorthEast United FC, one of only three teams unbeaten so far in the Indian Super League, will look to return to winning ways when it takes on Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan on Friday.

Gerard Nus’ NorthEast United, third on the table, has dropped points in its last two games, drawing with Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC. Seventh-placed Jamshedpur has also drawn its last two games but arrives high on confidence after producing a resilient defensive display to hold table-topper Mumbai City to a draw. The result was a commendable one for Owen Coyle’s side as it played with 10 men for over an hour after Aitor Monroy was sent off in the 28th minute.

Talking ahead of the game, Nus said, “We are working hard to be sure we're not going to lose. We try to go for the three points in every single game but I'm not worried (about losing). The most important thing is (that) we keep progressing, improving and we stick to our identity.”

Nus, who, at 35 is the youngest coach in the ISL, is also aware of setting a possible record for the club’s best-ever start to a season. “If we get the three points tomorrow, it will be the best (unbeaten) start for us, so looking forward to that,” he said.

 

Jamshedpur, home to goal-scoring machine Nerijus Valskis, is on a five-match unbeaten streak. Coach Coyle is keen to extend the run, although he’d prefer three points this time around. “They (NorthEast) are a good team, they have shown they are hard-working and it's going to be a tough game," he said. "We have enormous respect for them but it's also a game we're looking forward to. We know that if we're at our very best, it's a game we can win," he added.

Coyle’s side will fancy its chances as it has a solid back-line that features the defensive duo of captain Peter Hartley and Nigeria’s Stephen Eze, both of whom were instrumental in the draw with Mumbai City.

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Goalkeeper T. P. Rehenesh has also been in fine form, having made a league-high 18 saves. Adding to this is the goal-getting abilities of Lithuanian Valskis, who has scored six of his side’s seven goals this season, and is the league’s joint top-scorer.

A win would see NorthEast United get level with Mumbai City and ATK Mohun Bagan on 13 points, while Jamshedpur has the chance to sneak into the top-four.

The squads

NorthEast United FC: Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy, Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Rakesh Pradhan, Wayne Vaz, Federico Gallego, Imran Khan, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela, Britto PM, Idrissa Sylla, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Kwesi Appiah, Lalkhawpuimawia, Luis Machado, Suhair Vadakkepeedika

Jamshedpur FC: TP Rehenesh, Pawan Kumar, Niraj Kumar, Raj Mahato, Vishal Yadav, Peter Hartley, Stephen Eze, Narender Gehlot, Joyner Lourenco, Laldinliana Renthlei, Karan Amin, Manash Protim Gogoi, Sandip Mandi, Ricky Lallawmawma, Subhash Barua,  Aitor Monroy, Alex Lima, Jackichand Singh, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Issac Vanmalsawma, Amarjit Singh, Mobashir Rahman, Jitendra Singh, Manisana Singh, Harsha Parui, Billu Teli, Gorachand Mardi, Gaurab, Bhupender Singh, Nerijus Valskis, David Grande, Aniket Jadhav, Sapam Kennedy Singh, William Lalnunfela 

 

Match Facts:

Match Timing: 7:30 pm

Venue: Tilak Maidan