Strong second-half show helps NorthEast United FC see off SC East Bengal
NorthEast United FC registered their second win of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season as they beat SC East Bengal 2-0 at the PJN stadium in Margao, Goa on Friday.
After a goalless first half, the Highlanders stepped it up in the second half as goals from Suhair Vadakkepeedika (60’) and Patrick Flottman (68’) earned them the points.
The Red and Gold brigade started the contest brightly pushing the Highlanders deep in their own half but Khalid Jamil’s men soon got a foothold in the contest after the ten-minute mark to make it a more even contest.
The first real chance of the match fell to SC East Bengal’s Antonio Perosevic in the 28th minute shot just wide from a tight angle after the ball from a Tomislac Mrcela cross had reached him after having evaded a bunch of players in the heart of the penalty area.
The two teams cancelled each other out after the cooling break in the first half that had very few chances.
It was goalless at the interval with both teams failing to make too many inroads in the opponents’ defence in the first half.
Jose Manuel Diaz sent on Bikash Jairu for the second half but it was NorthEast United who went close in the 51st minute when Suhair cut in on his right to fire a powerful shot that just sailed over.
The Indian youngster though got it right on the hour mark when he arrived on the end of a fine cut-back that he buried into the goal to give the Highlanders the lead.
SC East Bengal had a chance to level matters just five minutes later when Daniel Chukwu went clear on goal but goalkeeper Mirshad Mirchu was alert to the danger and got to the ball first.
NorthEast United FC then doubled their lead after some clever work on a free-kick. Mathias Coureur released Imran Khan on the flank whose delightful cross was expertly put away by Flotmann at the far post in the 68th minute.
The two goals boosted the confidence of the Highlanders who went close to a third goal when Khassa Camara shot from a distance only to see his effort go inches wide in the 77th minute.
Coureur then had a crack at the SC East Bengal goal after creating space for a shot with some trickery four minutes later. In the 84th minute, Gurjinder Kumar forced a fine save from Arindam Bhattacharja as the Highlanders pushed for a third goal.
SC East Bengal though were able to limit the damage but NorthEast United ran out 2-0 winners after a strong show in the second half.
The win lifted Jamil’s team to seventh spot in the table while SC East Bengal remained rooted to the bottom.
NorthEast United FC next face ATK Mohun Bagan on Tuesday while SC East Bengal take on Hyderabad FC on Thursday.