Sylla’s injury-time goal earns NorthEast United FC a draw against ATK Mohun Bagan in first leg

Idrissa Sylla’s injury-time goal secured a 1-1 draw for NorthEast United FC against ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg of Semi-final 2 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. David Williams gave the Mariners the lead in the first half, and although they defended well throughout the game, a moment of brilliance from the Highlanders restored parity late in the game.

  • In the 34th minute, David Williams scored for ATK Mohun Bagan.
  • The Mariners seemed on course for victory before Idrissa Sylla levelled the score in injury time against the run of play.

Both sides created chances in their respective final thirds but failed to find the finishing touch in the opening minutes of the match. In the 24th minute, Roy Krishna did well to control the ball and fire a shot but he only hit the side-netting. Four minutes after the drinks break, it was Williams who broke the deadlock for the Mariners.

A long ball fell to Krishna, and the striker laid it on a plate for the Australian. Williams faked a shot that fooled Nim Dorjee before shooting the ball into the right corner to give his side the lead. As the first half came to a close, Ashutosh Mehta almost restored parity between the two sides but his header from a Federico Gallego freekick hit the crossbar.

Chances were few and far between for either side in the second half. ATK Mohun Bagan kept the pressure on their opponents but the Highlanders were solid at the back. At the other end of the pitch, most of NorthEast United FC’s chances came from set-pieces, although Gallego was unable to find any of his teammates with his luring deliveries.

In the 79th minute, Luis Machado won the ball in midfield and played it to Gallego, who was on the left. The Uruguayan beat his marker and tried to play a through ball towards substitute Idrissa Sylla inside the box. However, Carl McHugh did well to make a crucial interception.

Eight-five minutes into the game, another well-crossed freekick by Gallego was headed by Dylan Fox but the defender’s effort is blocked and cleared away by Pronay Halder. When ATK Mohun Bagan seemed to have wrapped up a win, the Highlanders scored the all-important equaliser.

Guinean forward Sylla controlled a long ball on his chest and passed it to Machado. The Portuguese winger crossed the ball into the danger area, and Sylla’s quickly ran forward and headed it into the far corner. The second leg of the contest will be played on Tuesday.

Hero of the Match: Gurjinder Kumar

Gurjinder Kumar’s defensive contributions for NorthEast United FC were acknowledged with the Hero-of-the-Match award. The fullback made two successful tackles, two blocks and a successful interception to keep the Mariners attackers at bay, particularly Manvir Singh.  

Other Match Awards:

Club Award: NorthEast United FC and ATK Mohun Bagan

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Roy Krishna (ATK Mohun Bagan)

Watch the Match Highlights here:


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