A fierce battle between two of the best defensive units in the league ended up in a 2-2 draw at the Fatorda as both the teams share honors.
An end to end momentum swing saw a 4 goals encounter alongside 8 players making it to the referee’s book. It was the first-ever 2-2 draw between these sides and was surely an extraordinary display of the beautiful game.
Starting XI :
Carles Cuadrat made no alterations to his starting XI and fielded the same team that won against Chennaiyin last week.
Northeast United FC:-
Unsurprisingly, Gerard Nus made changes to his starting XI. The Spanish tactician gave VP Suhair and Rochherzela their first-ever Hero ISL start following an impressive shift against East Bengal in their last outing. Dylan Fox and Lalrempuia made it back to the starting XI.
The battle of the two unbeaten sides out of three started with Bengaluru FC kicking off the match. In the 4th minute, VP Suhair and Rochherzela produced a goal out of nowhere and neither Gurpreet Singh Sandhu nor his defense had an answer to that move by the Highlanders. The young Mizo lad released a shot through his weak foot and the ball ended up in the back of the net through a wicked deflection from Luis Machado.
The early goal changed the energy levels of the players altogether. Bengaluru FC approached the game with more of an attacking mindset and the Blues were rewarded as Juanan scored his second goal of the season and brought things back to level terms courtesy of a miscommunication between Northeast’s defense and the goalkeeper.
The Blues chose the left flank to create chances with Sunil Chhetri and Ashique playing their parts. In the 19th minute, Ashique made a good run and almost scored his first of the season but Gurmeet did ever so well to withhold the scoreline.
A sight of great disappointment for the Bengaluru FC bench came in when Harmanjot Khabra missed a golden chance to bring his side into the lead as his left-footed shot went wide in the 26th minute.
Bengaluru FC earned a corner and the ball almost found Sunil Chhetri but Khassa Camara came to the rescue for the Highlanders, the Mauritanian International cleared a ball just over the crossbar to deny the Bengaluru FC skipper a goal on the evening.
It was a dangerous time for Bengaluru as they gave away a set-piece just near their box. Luis Machado brought GSS into action and the Indian international did well to deal with the danger in what was the last piece of action from the first 45 minutes.
Bengaluru made a change with Kristian Opseth coming in for Deshorn Brown at halftime. This match was surely a busy one for both the Goalkeepers as both of them had a busy day at the office. Just 6 minutes into the second half and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu showed why he is a two-time golden glove winner in the Indian top flight as he denied Kwesi Appiah a match-winning goal with the fastest or reactions.
Gurmeet on the other hand did not disappoint his teammates as he denied Kristian Opseth his first-ever goal in India with a flying save and he will surely remember that save for the years to come. But, the sudden turn around of events oversaw the Blues taking the lead for the first time in the match courtesy of some miscommunication within the Highlanders defense and Udanta Singh scored a goal after more than a year at the same arena where he scored last against FC Goa in 2019.
Well, Northeast can be named as the comeback kings this season. Yet again Some super magic by another Highlander Provat Lakra saw Northeast United leave Bengaluru upset. The fullback played a brilliant ball past the Bengaluru FC defense and Luis Machado sported some Portuguese magic and brought things back to level terms. The match resulted in a 2-2 draw and both Northeast and Bengaluru continue their unbeaten run.
Hero of the match: Luis Machado
Luis Machado is the Highlanders’ most high-profile signing for a reason. The Portuguese winger slashed his first two goals in the Indian top-flight and aided his team a point against a tough-looking Bengaluru FC.