The Highlanders have not come this far, only to come this far! As the race to the play-offs gets ever so intense and a top 4 finish at a touching distance, Khalid’s men will have to give everything in their tanks at the business end of the season. All the twists and turns, ups and downs, Math and Stats boils down to the clash of – North East United FC who has everything to play for and SC East Bengal who has nothing but pride to protect. The match will be coming to us live from the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday. So, with hopes as high as the towering Highlands and a team as strong as the mighty Brahmaputra – the Men in Red will have to be at their absolute best to get maximum points.
NORTHEAST UNITED FC
The Highlanders are currently fifth on the table with 27 points from 18 games, after gaining a point (or rather dropping a couple)in their last match! The team is on their longest unbeaten streak in history, with an unbeaten run of 8 games. Khalid has brewed a lethal attack scoring 14 goals under his ‘regime’, but the team has been able to keep only a single clean sheet. NEUFC won the reverse fixture by 2-0 but with a minimum to zero margins of error, this promises to be a mouth-watering clash.
The final third has been in fine form for the Highlanders. But the absence of Gallego as the think-tank #10 did create a void in the last match in the middle and is doubtful for tonight as well. However, Apuia and Camara are expected to start in the mid-field again. Headache for Khalid will be his defence, as the defenders seem to switch-off during crucial moments, evident from the team’s goal conceding record from set-pieces. Ashutosh also picked up an injury in the last match. At times, the trackers fail to get to their positions and neutralize the opposition, and the lads need to be well drilled to be an impenetrable shield.
“We have to play very well against SC East Bengal. We have to defend and attack well, create chances and utilize the ones that we have. We have to give our 100%. They (SC East Bengal) lost 3-1 against ATK Mohun Bagan in the last game. But this is a game we cannot take easy. We should give our best efforts in the 90 minutes and hopefully we will get the three points,” NorthEast’s assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew said in the pre-match conference.
SC EAST BENGAL
The Red and Gold Brigade find themselves at ninth in the table after just winning thrice in the whole season. A major concern for the side is their defence with just 3 clean sheets in the whole season. Their attack also takes an equal share of the blame having been able to score only 5 times in the last 6 games. With the season, nothing but over for SC East Bengal – they will be squad playing with nothing to lose for!
“I think they are great. I think they started the season really well and looking at their recruitment, they have got a good blend of youth (and experience) in their team. They are in the top four and they deserve to be up there. It’s going to be a big test for our lads. And that’s the best time you will get to see what your players are made of,” stated assistant coach Grant in the pre-match interview.
Therefore, the Highlanders will look to secure the top 4 spot by out-scoring the opposition in the stern test. A must-win game for the Reds considering the shenanigans our other play-off contenders have been up to recently.
Up The Highlanders
We Walk Through This Together