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Chennaiyin FC face Hyderabad FC with top-four spot in sight

Chennaiyin FC winger Lallianzuala Chhangte in training. (Photo courtesy: Chennaiyin FC)
Chennaiyin FC winger Lallianzuala Chhangte in training. (Photo courtesy: Chennaiyin FC)

Sixth-placed Chennaiyin FC take on fourth-placed Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League on Sunday evening in the early kick-off at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco. A win for Chennaiyin will take them level on points with Hyderabad, with three points currently separating both sides.

Csaba Laszlo’s CFC last won against Odisha FC on January 13. A 2-1 win that night was followed by a goalless draw against SC East Bengal, a narrow 1-0 defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan and a 1-1 stalemate versus Mumbai City FC. Manolo Marquez’s Hyderabad are also in search of a victory, having drawn four games on the bounce coming into this crucial clash.

The Chennaiyin gaffer shared the all-important team news during his pre-match press conference, especially surrounding new signing Manuel Lanzarote. The Spaniard would have concluded his mandatory quarantine ahead of the HFC clash on Sunday, however Laszlo and his staff are yet to decide on his involvement for the game.

“Lanza (Lanzarote) will be out of quarantine, but we will see. It is not easy for someone who has been in quarantine for 14 days, without a training session. But I will talk to him and we will decide on whether he will be part of the (matchday) squad or not. But definitely he will not be part of the first eleven,” Laszlo provided a clear update.

Asked about Anirudh Thapa, who missed the games against ATKMB and MCFC after an injury picked up against SCEB, Laszlo replied, “He (Thapa) is definitely making good improvement. Like in Lanza’s case, for Thapa too we will decide before the match whether he will be involved or not. We have one training session today to arrive at that decision. Generally, we don’t have any injuries in the squad. I hope we go into the game with our players fresh and firing.”

In other team news, CFC will be without central defender Enes Sipovic who picked up his fourth yellow card of the season against Mumbai in the previous game.

There is added motivation for the Marina Machans’ to get all three points against HFC. The previous meeting between both sides earlier this month resulted in a 4-1 humbling for Laszlo’s men, as Hyderabad punished some sloppy defending and scored goals on the break. CFC will be charged up for the occasion, in order to avenge the result in the reverse fixture and bring some momentum to their hopes of finishing in the top-four.

(Chennaiyin FC)