NorthEast stay on course for top-four berth after narrow win over SC East Bengal
NorthEast United FC continued their quest for a top-four spot in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 with a 2-1 win over SC East Bengal at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday. Suhair Vadakkepeedika opened the scoring for NorthEast in the second half and Sarthak Golui kicked the ball into his own net before scoring at the right end of the pitch late in the game for SC East Bengal. The second half also saw Raju Gaikwad being sent off following a second yellow card.
- Neither side managed to find the back of the net in the first half.
- Suhair Vadakkepeedika broke the deadlock for NorthEast early in the second half and SC East Bengal’s Sarthak Golui scored an own goal.
- Raju Gaikwad was sent off after a second yellow card before Golui scored a consolation goal for SC East Bengal.
NorthEast had the first chance of the game in the 3rd minute after Luis Machado found Deshorn Brown with a pass into the box for the Jamaican striker to test the goalkeeper with an early effort. The Highlanders were the more threatening side and spent a lot of the half in SC East Bengal’s box as they looked to probe openings and create chances.
Suhair tried his luck from range for the Highlanders in the 20th minute but SC East Bengal’s goalkeeper Mirshad Michu made the save. Mirshad was called into action again in the 27th minute when a corner took a touch off Brown and required the SC East Bengal goalkeeper to gather the ball.
The Red and Gold Brigade also registered their first attempt on target shortly after thanks to a Matti Steinmann header from a corner. The Kolkata club started enjoying more possession as the half wore on but couldn’t do much with it as both teams went into the break having failed to break the deadlock.
NorthEast took the lead just three minutes into the second period after Imran Khan played a ball into the box for Suhair to attack and slot into the back of the net. Brown could have doubled the Highlanders’ lead in the 53rd minute when a brilliant ball by Lalengmawia put the NorthEast striker through on goal. The Jamaican’s shot though failed to beat the goalkeeper as SC East Bengal breathed a sigh of relief.
However, the Highlanders did double their lead soon after courtesy of an SC East Bengal own goal. Nim Dorjee crossed the ball into a dangerous area in the box where Golui miscued his attempted clearance and put the ball into the net.
Things went from bad to worse for SC East Bengal in the 71st minute when Gaikwad was sent for an early shower following a second yellow card for a foul on Brown, who seemed to have a clear run at goal. The Kolkata club to their credit continued to fight till the final whistle and looked for a way back into the contest despite being a man down.
A powerful shot from range by substitute Surchandra Singh forced NorthEast’s goalkeeper Subhasish Roy in a save in the 83rd minute. SC East Bengal then pulled one back after Golui managed to pull one back four minutes later when Golui headed a set-piece into the net to set up a nervy finish. The Highlanders though held their nerve and defended resolutely to secure the three points and stay on track for a top four finish. With this result, Jamshedpur FC’s remote semis hopes also got completely dashed.
Hero of the Match – Suhair Vadakkepeedika
Suhair Vadakkepeedika put in another top performance for NorthEast. He had a good passing accuracy of 74% and scored the opening goal of the game for the Highlanders. Suhair also completed a successful tackle, one block, two successful interceptions and two clearances.
Other Match Awards:
Club Award – NorthEast United FC
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Imran Khan (NorthEast United FC)
Watch the Match Highlights here: