A fine first-half display helps NorthEast United overcome Odisha and move up to 3rd

NorthEast United FC rose to third spot in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) standings after a 3-1 win over Odisha FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday. Deshorn Brown’s goal sandwiched Luis Machado’s brace for the Highlanders in the first half. Bradden Inman scored for Odisha before the break but the Bhubaneswar-based club couldn’t muster a comeback despite NorthEast going down to 10 men in the 86th minute after Gurjinder Kumar was sent off following a second booking.

  • A Luis Machado brace and a Deshorn Brown goal had put NorthEast United firmly in control of the match in the first half.
  • Bradden Inman pulled one back for Odisha before the break.
  • NorthEast were reduced to 10 men in the 86th minute after a second yellow card for Gurjinder Kumar.

The Highlanders looked sharper from the opening whistle and took just nine minutes to make the breakthrough. They scored their opener in stunning fashion in the 9th minute as an Ashutosh Mehta cross from the right found Machado with time and space near the edge of the box for the Portuguese attacker to produce a first-time finish on the volley to make it 1-0.

Odisha had a half chance to equalise four minutes later when a ball fell to Daniel Lalhlimpuia outside the box. Daniel did well to get his shot away but couldn’t test the goalkeeper. NorthEast though were very much on top and would have doubled their lead in the 15th minute had Jacob Tratt not executed a last-ditch tackle in the box to deny Machado from scoring a simple tap-in off a cross from the right.

Federico Gallego tried his luck from range soon after and saw his effort saved by Odisha’s goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh. Gallego then played Brown in on goal with an excellent pass for the Jamaican to put the ball through Arshdeep’s legs and make it 2-0 in the 19th minute.

Gallego was also the provider for NorthEast’s third goal of the match in the 24th minute when the Uruguayan playmaker produced a quality ball over the top of Odisha’s defence for Machado to head home emphatically for his second of the night.

The Uruguayan playmaker seemed to be enjoying himself and set up Brown for two more goal-scoring opportunities seven minutes before halftime. Brown first shot at goalkeeper before heading his second opportunity on target but Arshdeep was equal to the task on both occasions.

His saves were rewarded with an Odisha goal that gave them a lifeline before halftime. After Daniel played an inviting ball for Inman to run on to towards the left of the box, the Australian midfielder’s shot took a deflection off Mashoor Shereef and went into the net to make it 3-1 at the break.

Odisha began the second period with positive intent and purpose. They also introduced star man Diego Mauricio off the bench to freshen up their attack and the move did have an impact as the Brazilian kept NorthEast’s defenders on their toes with his trickery and guile.

The Highlanders, meanwhile, could have re-established their three-goal lead had it not been for Arshdeep. After initially getting a touch on a cross from the right, Arshdeep recovered in time to get back on his feet to stop Machado from scoring his third goal of the night with his head soon after the hour mark.

Odisha continued to try and find a way into the match as Inman dragged an effort wide of goal from inside the box in the 66th minute. The Bhubaneswar-based club saw more of the ball in the second half than they did in the first but weren’t creating any clear-cut chances.

A Mauricio header off a cross from the right was kept out by NorthEast’s goalkeeper as Odisha upped the ante in the last 10 minutes of regulation time. Steven Taylor then saw his header from a set-piece ricochet off the crossbar and Jerry Mawihmingthanga put the ball into the net on the rebound, but the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul.

NorthEast was then reduced to 10 men following a second yellow card for Gurjinder Kumar. Odisha tried to make their man advantage count and came close to scoring through Jerry. The Indian winger’s shot from close range though was blocked by a NorthEast player.

The closing stages of the contest saw NorthEast have a shot on goal as well after Brown was put through on goal only to be denied by Arshdeep again. The final few minutes witnessed the Highlanders running down the clock and defending in numbers to get over the line and move up to third in the standings.

Hero of the Match – Federico Gallego

Federico Gallego continued his fine form for NorthEast with another brilliant performance. He was a constant threat to Odisha during his time on the pitch and created five chances besides also providing two assists.

Other Match Awards:

Club Award – NorthEast United FC

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Federico Gallego (NorthEast United FC)

Watch the Match Highlights here:

 

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