Hyderabad, Chennaiyin face each other in race for top 4

ATK FC defeated Chennaiyin FC 3-1 in the ISL Final played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa on Saturday to win a historic third ISL title

Vasco (Goa), Jan 30 (IANS) Hyderabad FC are looking to cement their place in their top four while Chennaiyin stand a chance at getting closer to a playoff spot when the two teams face each other in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan on Sunday

A win will help Hyderabad overtake FC Goa and get closer to ATK Mohun Bagan who play later that day. For Chennaiyin, three points is exactly what separates them and their opponents in the day’s early kickoff.

Current form would favour Hyderabad who are on a six-match unbeaten run. But coach Manuel Marquez will be worried by the fact that four of those six games ended in draws despite Hyderabad arguably looking the better team. He believes the solution is simple — his strikers need to take their chances more.

“The team needs to score [from] the chances, that is very clear. But the most important thing is to have these clear chances. I think that it’s true that the team plays good football that is attractive to people. But in football, the most important thing is the final score,” said Marquez.

A welcome return to form for striker Aridane Santana should help solve part of their problem. Santana had four shots on target in their last game and was instrumental in the comeback against Bengaluru FC.

For Chennaiyin, the match represents an opportunity to not just close the gap, but to make amends for a poor performance in the reverse fixture.

“It’s not just a game against a team that we are three points behind. We played really bad football against Hyderabad in the last game and we have to change this. Professional football is always about results. Sometimes we have bad days but I don’t want to see them lose without heart, without will, without spirit,” said Chennaiyin manager Csaba Laszlo.

Like his opposite number, Laszlo will be hoping for an improved display upfront. Chennaiyin have struggled to score all season. Their tally for the season (11) is the lowest in the league. Their goal conversion rate of 6.01 percent is the lowest in the history of the league. Unless those numbers improve, it is hard to see Chennaiyin’s play-off push getting off the ground.

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