NorthEast maintain unbeaten start to season after goalless draw with Chennaiyin
NorthEast United FC played out a 0-0 draw with Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco in Super Sunday’s first game. Both sides defended with discipline and couldn’t quite find the right finish when in promising areas as NorthEast maintained their unbeaten start to Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21.
- Both teams got into dangerous areas in the first half but couldn’t produce the final ball in the attacking third to score a goal.
- The second half witnessed plenty of goal-scoring chances, but a combination of solid defending and underwhelming finishing meant that neither side could break the deadlock.
Chennaiyin began positively and were close to going in front in the opening minute of the contest when Lallianzuala Chhangte ran into the box with the ball before attempting to slot a shot in at the far post only for Gurmeet to dive to his right and make a save. Edwin Vanspaul then witnessed his left-footed attempt from the edge of the penalty area in the 6th minute go just wide of goal.
The Marina Machans were dominating possession without creating many clear-cut chances, while NorthEast looked dangerous whenever they crossed balls into the box. A NorthEast corner in the 38th minute made its way to Dylan Fox but the centre-back couldn’t test the goalkeeper with his first-time attempt. Vanspaul then went up the other end for Chennaiyin and forced NorthEast’s goalkeeper into an easy save as the teams went into the break goalless.
The second period began with NorthEast’s Idrissa Sylla blazing an effort from outside the box over the crossbar. Chhangte then played Jakub Sylvestr through on goal for Chennaiyin soon after but the Slovakian striker’s shot was wide off the mark and failed to test the goalkeeper.
Both sides seemed to be trading blows and it was NorthEast that came close to going in front next in the 55th minute when an Sylla shot off a cross from the left forced Chennaiyin’s goalkeeper Vishal Kaith into tipping the ball over the crossbar.
The pendulum swung in Chennaiyin’s favour five minutes later when a powerful left-footed Sylvestr shot could only be parried by NorthEast goalkeeper to Chhangte, who put his attempt on the follow-up into the stands to the disappointment of his teammates.
Sylla then found himself in on goal in the 66th minute and had a big opportunity to give NorthEast the lead courtesy of a delightful ball behind Chennaiyin’s backline. However, the Guinean striker dragged his shot wide of the target to the relief of Chennaiyin’s defence.
Chennaiyin responded with a Chhangte shot that sailed over the crossbar 10 minutes later. The Marina Machans did test NorthEast’s goalkeeper in the 78th minute through an Eli Sabia header from a corner. Gurmeet, though, made a routine save to deny Sabia from giving Chennaiyin the lead.
The closing stages of the contest saw both teams create half chances. Substitutes Anirudh Thapa and Rochharzela found themselves in promising areas for Chennaiyin and NorthEast respectively. However, neither could manage to get a clear shot away as the teams had to settle for a draw and share the spoils.
Hero of the Match – Khassa Camara
Khassa Camara had another impressive showing in the heart of midfield for NorthEast. The defensive midfielder was key to NorthEast breaking down Chennaiyin’s attacks in transition and finished the game with one block, two successful tackles and four successful interceptions.
Other Match Awards:
Club Award – NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Rochharzela (NorthEast United FC)
Watch the Match Highlights here: