Hero ISL fraternity unites to pray for Gallego's swift recovery

NorthEast United FC may have lost Monday's match and an opportunity to feature in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 final, but won the hearts of millions with their performance. Despite missing multiple key players, the Highlanders put up a brave front to hold the relentless Bengaluru FC at bay for almost three-quarters of the match and perhaps no one embodied their warrior-like spirit on the night better than Federico Gallego, who gave it his all and then some for the team’s cause.

The Uruguayan was absolutely phenomenal on the pitch, acting as the lynchpin during NorthEast’s attacks and tracking back to help out the defence whenever needed. With Bartholomew Ogbeche and Rowllin Borges missing due to injuries, Gallego stepped up to take up the mantle of the team's talisman on the field.

However, akin to any hero of a classic Greek tragedy, the night ended on a sombre note for the Uruguayan. Minutes before the hour mark, in a bid to foil a dangerous Bengaluru attack, Gallego put his body on the line to deny Miku a scoring opportunity and in the process, gravely injured himself.

Such was the severity of his injury, Gallego had to be carried off the field in an ambulance with a suspected broken foot.

His departure eventually helped Bengaluru turn the tide of the match, as NorthEast evidently missed his composure and dogged resilience in the middle of the park. The Blues would finally go on to break down the Highlanders a few minutes later, with Miku scoring the all-important first goal of the match. Two more goals from Dimas Delgado and Sunil Chhetri followed as Bengaluru secured a 3-0 win, overturning the 2-1 first leg deficit in the process.

Despite the loss, Gallego's valiant showing on the night earned the respect of fans, his peers and most notably the opposition players. After the match, several Bengaluru players like Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Dimas Delgado and others took time off from the celebrations to wish the Uruguayan star a speedy recovery.

Hero ISL players from other teams also joined in on the prayers.

NorthEast owner John Abraham and head coach Eelco Schattorie, too, sent out tweets to wish the Uruguayan a speedy recovery.

Football pundits and fans also sent in their wishes for the player.

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