Everybody played like a lion today: NorthEast United FC’s Khassa Camara

NorthEast United FC midfielder Khassa Camara was all praise for the brave display by his teammates during the 2-0 win over SC East Bengal in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the PJN stadium in Margao, Goa on Friday.

Following a lackluster first-half by both sides, the Highlanders shifted gears in the second period and took control of the game completely. Strikes from Suhair Vadakkepeedika and Patrick Flottman were enough for the side to register their second win of the season.

“I know (Hernan) Santana is one of our main players in the team, and of course we missed him, but we are a team, we have a lot of players in the team. And, today everybody was like a lion. So I want to congratulate all my teammates. We needed the win today. It was very important for us because in the last game we conceded five goals. So we had to react and, I'm very happy today that we did (win) for the club, all the fans,” said Camara, during the post-match interview.

Camara, who won the Hero of the Match award, threw some light on the shift of strategy following the half-time whistle, which was responsible for changing the complexion of the game in Highlanders’ favour.

“It was a hard game for us. In the first half we had the ball, it was difficult to find the solution in the last (final) third. So we just tried to keep ourselves together and we tried to be more dangerous in the last third. And, that's what we did. We scored two goals. I think that we could have even scored more goals today, but, the most important thing today is the three points,” added the footballer.

SC East Bengal assistant coach Renedy Singh expressed displeasure for the dull second half show by his side, even though they played some exciting football before the break.

“I think it was a good first half for us. If you see the game, we created a few chances and we could have got a penalty and those kinds of decisions could have changed the scenario of the game,” remarked Singh, after the loss.

“Like I said, I was happy with the first half, but in the second half we just didn't play our game. We didn't deserve to win playing that kind of game and we were not maintaining our shape at all. So, if you could have maintained the shape, the game could have been different. If the boys could have played like the first half, the match could have been different, but like I said, we didn't deserve to win.”

Centre-back Flottman, who scored NorthEast United FC’s second goal from a header and also helped them keep a clean sheet in the absence of Santana, believes that his team are capable of a top-four finish if the players keep on playing with the same intensity.

“Yeah, definitely. That's the aim obviously for us, you know, is to make the top four. But at the same time, we've got to take it game by game and today I think that's what we did. We slowed it down. We tried to keep the ball a bit. Then, obviously with the two goals, it was good, but I think we can be better as well. I think we can score more. I think we can keep the ball better and keep improving,” stated the defender.

NorthEast United FC will be up against ATK Mohun Bagan in their next game at the same venue, on December 21, while SC East Bengal are set to lock horns with Hyderabad FC at the Athletic Stadium, in Bambolim, on December 23.

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