NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali was visibly ecstatic as his team orchestrated an incredible comeback to secure a thrilling victory over Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.

Despite the odds stacked against them, the hosts clinched their second win of the season after trailing by a goal until the 93rd minute. NorthEast United FC's unwavering efforts bore fruit with two quick-succession goals. The Red Miners had initially taken the lead when Daniel Chima Chukwu capitalized on the rebound after his initial penalty was saved by Mirshad Michu. Although the Men of Steel adopted a defensive approach in the second half, the Highlanders remained resolute in making their presence felt on their home turf.

“I think if we see the game slowly, we see that Jamshedpur was defending, defending, defending, defending, defending. We're making some mistakes in the first half, positioning mistakes. We didn't do exactly what was planned. In the second half, we corrected it. We had all the second half. penalty. Yes, they scored. Yes, we know that it's a very difficult team to score against, but perseverance goes again, again, and again, and it happened. That’s football. That's the beauty of football. What we did in 90 minutes, we couldn't score; in three minutes, we scored two. Great game, great three points,” Benali stated in the post-match press conference.

Spanish defender Michel Zabaco's exceptional presence of mind, coupled with Ibson Melo's perfectly placed penalty kick in the final moments of extra time, secured them three crucial points. This victory propelled them to third place in the league standings.

Discussing their promising start in the ISL, Benali remarked, "I tell you the truth. If they told me before to start the season in the fifth match we had eight points and we'd be in the third position, I would say you're crazy. Really happy with the guys, really happy with the work. I hope you come to see all the training and meetings, and they're working hard. They deserve it. Really, they deserve it.”

“The team is going well. We cannot make many changes, and happy? Yes, of course. Because the work gives fruit slowly, slowly,” he added.

The Spaniard also expressed his delight at the substantial number of supporters in the stadium today. Their cheers and chants provided an additional boost for the team, motivating them to perform at their best.

Reflecting on the incredible support from the Highlanders, Benali said, “Fantastic. We hope to see more people, more fans. That's what you want. I think 50% of this win is for our supporters. They were pushing and pushing and pushing. Great. Fantastic. That's NorthEast’s spirit. That's what we want to see.”

The Highlanders will next face Odisha FC on November 3 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.