The first ever Hero ISL clash between these two eastern rivals NorthEast united and East Bengal was surely expected to be a power packed game with an end to end action of the beautiful game and the game did live up to it’s expections.
Another day, another disciplined defensive display by Northeast United FC. The Highlanders secure all 3 points against their neighbours in an action packed encounter.
Referee Santosh Kumar blewed the full time whistle at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco as Northeast United climb up to the second place on the points table with 2 wins and 2 draws. An own goal from the visitors and some late super sub magic by Rochherzela sealed all the three points for the Gerard Nus led side.
Starting XI :
Northeast United FC :
Going into the tie, Gerard Nus preferred early squad rotations. The Spanish tactician made 5 changes to the starting XI with Ashutosh, Ninthoi and Appiah returning to the first eleven. Mashoor Shareef was handed his debut and came in for Dylan Fox. Gurmeet Singh Chahal got his first ever Hero ISL start following a superb second half display against FC Goa.
Gurmeet, Ashutosh, Benjamin, Mashoor, Gurjinder, Camara, Lalengmawia, Machado, Kwesi, Ninthoi, Sylla started for Northeast United.
SC East Bengal :
Robbie Fowler made just one change in his starting XI. Sehnaj Singh was handed his first Hero ISL start this season.
Debjit, Sehnaj, Neville, Irshad, Surchandra, Steinmann, Angousana, Pilkington, Jacques, Narayan, Balwant, starred the game fot the Kolkata Giants.
SC East Bengal began the proceedings and started off well. 4 minutes into the first half and Ashutosh Mehta mistimed a challenge on Jacques Maghoma and gave away a free-kick. The Englishman’s curling free kick was met by Scott Neville and went straight into Gurmeet’s hand.
Few minutes after the drinks break, the Highlanders produced a counter attack with Kwesi Appiah finding his partner Idrissa Sylla courtesy of low power ball and that went it with a slight contact from the Guinean but ended up being an own goal by Surchandra Singh.
The Kolkata Giants kept knocking on the door but breaching Northeast United FC’s ‘No Nonsense’ defense ain’t easy. The Highlanders did not let their new neighbours take away the lead from them and went into their dressing with a goal cushion at halftime.
In the second half, Gerard Nus brought in Provat Lakra in place of Ashutosh Mehta who received a booking in the early moments of the first half. Robbie Fowler substituted Balwant Singh and CK Vineeth came in for the Hero ISL debutants.
Both teams began the second half agressively. Debjit Majumdar was brought into action by Apuia with just two minutes into the second half. Ninthoi found Appiah through the right flank and the Ghanian hit it low into the keeper’s hand.
Anthony Pilkington pulled the trigger for a long range effort but it came off Gurmeet’s hand. East Bengal kept pushing bodies forward and the fomer EPL star Pilkington released a shot through his right foot and it missed the target altogether. A few minutes later, a great ball into the box by the Surchandra Singh from the right flank and that created a havoc in the box. Benjamin Lambot came at rescue for the Highlanders with a clean challenge and cleared the danger.
Northeast United FC’s substitutes stole the show. VP Suhair made a Hero ISL debut and what a dream debut it was. The former Mohun Bagan forward delivered a great cross into the box and at the end of it was the Mizoram lad Rochherzela. The Mizoram born midfielder produced a magical sprint of 50-60 yards and scored his first ever goal for the team from Guwahati.
Hero of the match :
A performance worthy of the armband. The Belgian stalwart stood tall throughout the 90 minutes and managed to keep a clean sheet for his side. ‘Big Ben’ as they say surely pulled out all the stops.