NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali is delighted after securing three valuable points against FC Goa in their Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday.

The Highlanders, following a disappointing 4-2 defeat to Mohun Bagan, desperately needed a win to stay in playoff contention. However, they faced a tough challenge against the Gaurs, who were also coming from their first ISL defeat to the Mariners.

The first half was a tight affair, with the home side creating more chances. But it was the Highlanders who stole the lead in the 69th minute when Tomi Juric converted a penalty. They then extended the lead further in the 80th minute when Nestor Albiach's header deflected heavily off Odei Onaindia and ended up in the back of the net.

Head coach Benali is pleased with his players' performance as they put on a terrific display to secure three crucial points against the formidable FC Goa side.

“(It was a) good game. First half, we stopped to see how FC Goa were playing and everything,” Benali stated in the post-match press conference.

“In the second half, we knew what was going on and we talked in the dressing room that we could hurt them and we (did so) from the set pieces,” he added.

The win propelled NorthEast United FC back into sixth place in the points table with 19 points from 16 matches, two points ahead of seventh-placed Jamshedpur FC. This win also marks the Highlanders’ first away win this season and their first victory at FC Goa's home venue.

Talking about the significance of the victory Benali said, “(It is) a great win against a great team. And today, it was our day.”

FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez gave Borja Herrera his first start since joining his new coach, with star forward Noah Sadaoui starting from the bench.

When asked if he was surprised to see Sadaoui on the bench, he commented, “No (I was not surprised), the thing is that FC Goa have another two games in quick succession after us. Manolo (Marquez) knows that very well and they thought that this is the best option.”