NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali seemed unhappy with the result as his team settled for a 1-1 draw against Hyderabad FC despite creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Sunday.

Romain Philippoteaux’s powerful strike took a significant deflection off Nim Dorjee Tamang’s outstretched leg, handing the hosts an early lead within the 8th minute. The Highlanders had a couple of chances in the first half to secure a sustainable lead before the halftime break, but they failed to make the final impact, either due to Gurmeet Singh’s brilliance or their lack of precision. Hyderabad FC’s Finnish midfielder, Petteri Pennanen, scored his first ISL goal in the 44th minute, bringing his side back into the game. This remained the ultimate result as both sides shared the spoils by the end of the final whistle.

The Highlanders were at their best in creating chances, easily dominating the game in the first half. However, their ineffective decision-making in the final third played a decisive role, preventing them from extending their lead past Gurmeet.

“I'm not happy with the result,” Benali stated in the post-match press conference.

“Especially when you see the game, we got numerous chances—maybe seven, eight, or ten. But the problem is that in football when you don't kill, you get killed. This is how it is. They played their game. They played smart. Well, we should have scored (more). If we score two, three, or four in the first half, nobody will be surprised. In the second half, we didn't start very well. Suddenly, with the changes, the team changed again, and we had more chances to score, but we didn't do it. Maybe we keep it for the next game,” he added.

The Spaniard explained that there were many mini-battles throughout the entire game. He expressed his opinion that his side displayed better football in the second half, even after the changes. However, he believes his team is still missing the click, and it is evident that the breakthrough will eventually come.

“This is how it's in football. Football is not only one single game; it has many, many small games during the game. In the second half, the first ten minutes, we were not very well. But after 10–15 minutes, when we made the changes, the team changed a lot, and we started playing (well again),” he stated.

“There was too much space in the middle, and we couldn't find those players easily. The moment we started founding Romain Philippoteaux inside, Macarton Louis Nickson after Nestor Albiach or Ibson Melo inside with Jithin M. S. and Huidrom Thoi Singh on the sides, we created much more chances. In the second half, for the first ten minutes, we were impatient. We wanted to arrive very quickly, and we wanted to score because we had too many chances. Psychologically, we want to go, and we need to have that patience a little bit,” he added.

“But we need experience, and games give you that experience. What we needed was to calm down, try to play, and wait for the situation (to come). And in the last 25–30 minutes, we created many chances again. We dominated the game, but we still need that click. It will come. I'm positive it will come,” Benali continued.

Benali acknowledged that their last match defeat had no impact on today’s game. He commended his players' hard work and expressed enthusiasm for securing two digits (10 points) on the points table.

“Players are working hard. They're building themselves. Today we have three young players starting in the ISL, in the form of Buanthanglun Samte, Huidrom Thoi Singh, and Macarton Louis Nickson (who also played against East Bengal FC). We try to give more chances to the young ones,” he added.

“We're building the team slowly, slowly. We need to give them the chance. Well, one more point. We are in two digits (10 points) already. And thinking about the next game,” he concluded.