Mohun Bagan Super Giant put three past NorthEast United FC to come from behind and defeat the Highlanders by 3-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 tonight.

Regardless of the results, a standout factor in NorthEast United FC's performances this season has been their desire to make a difference on the field.

The willingness to put their bodies on the line and optimise half-chances is a result of the renewed spirit they have rediscovered under Juan Pedro Benali.

Jithin M.S. gave a testament to that in the fourth minute, scrapping through a tight situation to lay a headed pass in the path of Phalguni Singh. Phalguni bravely went for the shot from outside of the box, curling the ball into the top right corner to get the local crowd going straight away.

The Mariners were not going to take this lying down though. They hit back through the flanks, stretching the backline of the Highlanders and carving out spaces down the centre for strikers Armando Sadiku and Jason Cummings to pounce upon.

One such run by Liston Colaco earned them a free-kick on the left flank, and midfield enforcer Deepak Tangri was well-positioned to meet the delivery and nod it home to bag the equaliser in the 13th minute.

It was all Mohun Bagan Super Giant from that point onwards, with everyone from the back to front chipping in and taking shots at the NorthEast United FC defence. Kiyan Nassiri and Anirudh Thapa joined hands for the former to shoot from a distance, whereas Asish Rai, who bagged his maiden ISL goal earlier this season against former club Hyderabad FC, tried his luck from the right flank too.

Eventually, on a day of many aerial duels, Sadiku jumped leapt and brought down the ball for Cummings to shoot at in the 44th minute. The Australian, who represented the nation in the FIFA World Cup last year, tapped the ball in from close range to get the visitors ahead in the 29th minute of the game.

The Highlanders never really recovered from that goal, as the attacking riches of the Mohun Bagan Super Giant came through with the likes of Colaco, Hugo Boumous, and Manvir Singh running circles around the opposition’s box. Boumous and Manvir were introduced in the proceedings in the 61st minute, and that played a big role in helping the visitors sustain control over the proceedings.

It culminated with defender Subhasish Bose joining the goal-scoring fest, jumping up on a layup by Colaco to drill the ball into the bottom right corner from the left side of the 18-yard box. The comfortable two-goal lead did not stop the Mariners from searching for more goals, as precision and direction deserted the Highlanders after the wonder strike by Phalguni in the fourth minute.

Key Performer of the Match

Deepak Tangri (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)

The midfielder put in a laudable defensive shift, making two clearances and interceptions each, in addition to tackling once and netting the night's opening goal for the Mohun Bagan Super Giant. He recorded a 94% passing accuracy and delivered a workhorse-like performance from the middle of the park.

What’s next for both teams?

Mohun Bagan Super Giant will next square off against Mumbai City FC away from home on December 20, whereas NorthEast United FC will travel to take on Bengaluru FC on December 24.

Brief Scores

NorthEast United FC 1 (Phalguni Singh 4’) - 3 Mohun Bagan Super Giant (Deepak Tangri 14’, Jason Cummings 28’, Subhasish Bose 71’)

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