It isn't over until the final whistle, and NorthEast United FC exemplified this by scoring two late goals to come from behind and secure a 2-1 victory over Jamshedpur FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.

“I want to thank the fans of NorthEast United FC for being patient, for holding out, but I want to promise them a great future and I think this is the start of that,” the Highlanders’ owner John Abraham said on the sidelines of the game and his boys gave the supporters a reason to smile again with their relentless spirit and attitude until the last minute.

The Red Miners came touring the Land of Blue Hills with only a solitary goal to their name in four matches this season.

In the 19th minute, when Daniel Chima Chukwu botched the first chance to put the ball into the net from the penalty, it appeared that the team’s concerns were only going to grow after this game. However, the Nigerian showed quick awareness to pounce upon the ball that deflected back from NorthEast goalkeeper Mirshad Michu and roll it past the custodian to bring some happiness and put them 1-0 up.

Asheer Akhtar who had gotten on the scoresheet in NEUFC’s emphatic 3-0 win over Chennaiyin FC at this very venue a few weeks ago tried to double his goal-scoring tally with a couple of terrific attempts in the second half, with the latter being a sharp, well-directed, and powerful long-range effort that just missed the target.

However, it was NEUFC’s seasoned duo of Michel Zabaco and Ibson Melo who injected precision gameplay with their exemplary output in the 10 minutes of extra time. NorthEast were on the lookout for the equaliser and they grabbed the opportunity through a sweet strike from Zabaco that landed in the middle of the net in the 94th minute. The momentum that they gained from that goal pushed them to find a winner, resulting in Romain Philippoteaux winning a spot-kick in the final minute. Melo, shouldering the expectations of the entire stadium, confidently stepped up to the challenge and drilled the ball home in the 97th minute to get his team a victory that they will remember and rejoice for the rest of the season, with team owner John Abraham clapping and cheering his boys post the final whistle.

Key Performer of the Match

Michel Zabaco (NorthEast United FC)

Zabaco was a figure as constant in all the attacking play that NorthEast built up throughout the game. With 79 attempted passes, he was running and was Positioned perfectly for their equaliser, getting his team back in the game and the 3 points eventually.

What’s next for both teams?

Jamshedpur FC will now play host to Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on November 1, whereas the Highlanders will travel to Bhubaneswar to take on Odisha FC on November 3.

Brief Scores

NorthEast United FC 2 (Michel Zabaco 90+4’, Ibson Melo 90+9’) – 1 (Daniel Chima Chukwu 19’) Jamshedpur FC

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