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Hyderabad FC is showing Chennaiyin exactly what they are missing!

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The performances of Fran Sandaza and Joel Chianese must be reassuring for coach Manuel Marquez as ISL goes into business at the end of the season …

After four consecutive draws, Hyderabad FC were in desperate need of a win when they met Chennaiyin FC on Sunday. Chennaiyin themselves struggled a bit and needed the wina as much as their opponents.

But it would be the Nizams who would take the booty and consolidate their place in the top four. The victory was very important to them because it came after four consecutive draws. For Chennaiyin, it was a case of their familiar unease in advance where they wasted a number of opportunities.

Seasoned Spain striker Fran Sandaza, given for the first time this season by coach Manuel Marquez, was impressed with the opening goal. The 36-year-old, who scored an equalizer in added time for the Nizams in their last game against Bengaluru FC, looked very dangerous alongside Aridane Santana and earned the important opening goal, thanks to Joao Victor who played a great pass.

Sandaza only played 55 minutes, but during that time he made a huge impact on the game with his presence and ability to pose constant threats in the opponents’ penalty area. Sandaza was replaced by Australian striker Joel Chianese who scored the second goal of the game with a quality strike and sealed the fate of the game.

Manuel Marquez will be happy after seeing two of his foreign rookies, who didn’t play much in the first half of the season due to injuries, start to influence the games.

Hyderabad is one of the few ISL clubs this season to have barely had the chance to fill their foreign players’ quota in their starting XI for most of the season. Despite the lack of full service from its overseas contingent, Hyderabad has achieved consistent performances and achieved key results that have kept them firmly in the play-off race.

Injured players are now coming back slowly and that bodes well for the Nizams. With just five games to go in the season, Hyderabad is in the midst of a fierce competition with NorthEast United and FC Goa for two play-off spots and at this point the manager will want to make full use of his squad.

Another area where Hyderabad has impressed is their Indian players. ISL clubs very rarely witness consistent performance from their Indian players. Marquez has mainly used seven Indian outfielders (Chinglensana Singh, Asish Rai, Akash Mishra, Halicharan Narzary, Liston Colaco, Mohammed Yasir and Hitesh Sharma) in rotation for the majority of Hyderabad’s games this season and all of them have impressed in part.

Lallianzuala Chhangte, Hyderabad vs. Chennaiyin

While the signs are encouraging for Hyderabad FC, Chennaiyin FC is in a rut and there is no indication that Csaba Laszlo’s side are putting an end to it. And this is not a case where Laszlo’s team has been outclassed. Apart from the reverse game against Hyderabad, which they lost 4-1, the Marina Machans were not surpassed in any game.

But they always find themselves on the wrong side of a result, thanks to their sloppy finish.

The former champions once again created plenty of chances, especially in the second half as they continued the game. Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, Rahim Ali and many others were guilty of rejecting easy chances that should at least have seen Chennaiyin restore parity if not win. However, confidence is so slow among forwards that nothing seems to be going for them right off the bat.

As Csaba Laszlo said after the game, goalless football is nothing and all the chances you create become useless if a team does not convert them.

Chennaiyin is not quite out of the play-off race following the defeat of Hyderabad but unless a solution to their debauchery in front of goal is found, their chances remain bleak.