Vasco (Goa), Feb 6 (IANS) NorthEast United have closed the gap on the top four and can momentarily take third place if they beat Hyderabad FC in their next match in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday.
Fifth-placed NorthEast are unbeaten in their last five games and are level on points with Hyderabad, who are fourth, and FC Goa in third place. They had won three matches in a row, including a 2-1 win to end Mumbai City’s 12-game unbeaten run, before drawing 2-2 with Goa in their previous match.
Hyderabad also stand a chance at taking third place. They are unbeaten in their last 7 matches, and beat Chennaiyin FC 2-0 in their last match. NorthEast have scored 21 goals, the second-highest tally in the league, but have not kept a clean sheet in nine matches.
Their recent run of results hasn’t gone unnoticed by Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez. “The work of Khalid (Jamil) is very good because it’s not easy to win against Mohun Bagan, Jamshedpur and the other day when you are twice down against Goa to equalise the game (2-2),” he said.
“I think the most important thing is that Khalid gives the players confidence. They play with a good organisation in defence and have very good players in attack. Of course, we will have options to win the game if we play to our style.”
To increase their chances of winning, Hyderabad will have to keep a tight leash on midfielder Federico Gallego, who has been key to NorthEast’s attack. The Uruguayan has scored 4 goals and contributed as many assists besides creating the most chances for his side.
Head coach Jamil believes their recent progress has been down to the team effort. “It is not about the individuals,” he said. “Everyone is working hard, the players are doing their job and are enjoying. Even the staff, everyone is working together. This is the main secret (to our success).”