NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali expressed his disappointed as they dropped points against Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday.

The Highlanders put on a strong performance in the first half, highlighted by Parthib Gogoi's impressive long-range goal in the 32nd minute. Early in the second half, Benali's team increased their lead with an own goal from Alex Saji. Despite the looming possibility of Hyderabad FC's 14th defeat of the season, Makan Chothe revived their chances by scoring his inaugural goal in the league this season. In the 76th minute, a crucial error by NorthEast United FC goalkeeper Mirshad Michu, who failed to secure the ball while intercepting a cross, presented Joao Victor with an open goal opportunity. The Brazilian calmly tapped in the ball, securing a valuable point for his team and concluding the match with a 2-2 draw.

Points shared.#NEUFC #StrongerAsOne #8States1United

— NorthEast United FC (@NEUtdFC) March 4, 2024

Benali was upset with how his team took the opponents for granted after their second goal, which allowed Hyderabad FC to make a turnaround from two goals down.

You know, the problem is when we scored the second goal, we stopped being hungry. We disrespected the opponent. And when you don't respect the opponent, even if you're 2-0 up, you receive, and we deserved to receive the two goals,” stated Benali at the post-match press conference.

He added, “(After our second goal) we just stopped playing. We stopped pressing, we started walking, we thought that the job was done. But the game is a hundred minutes (long). It’s not even 90 minutes in this moment. And, well, big slap (to us) and congratulations to Hyderabad FC.”

The Highlanders made a total of eight shot attempts, slightly fewer than Hyderabad FC's nine shots. Despite their efforts and the pressure they put on goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani, NorthEast United FC couldn't find a way to secure a winning goal.

With regret that his team couldn't find a winner from their opportunities which came even after Hyderabad FC levelled the scores, the Spanish tactician said, “When you're stressed, you don't have that calmness, you don't have that cold blood that the real strikers have. We just got very nervous. We panicked in the area. That's why we couldn't finish it. It’s just that we need that calmness. That is what we're looking for. The problem is we didn't do the job before (when we had the chance to kill the game). Then after, it gets harder and harder.”

21-year-old forward Parthib Gogoi bagged his fourth goal of the season, against Hyderabad FC. In his 66 minutes on the pitch, Gogoi scored a goal, created a chance for his team to score a goal, and maintained a passing accuracy of 82%.

Praising the youngster for his performance in Hyderabad, the 54-year-old shared, “Well, he (Gogoi) was very good at the time he was in the field. He gave us what we needed. He never played as a full striker, at nine, and he's doing a great job. He's been working for it and I'm really happy for him. And I think he’s one of the key players for the future, and not the future only, the present too. I think, if you keep going and working like he did, especially in the first half, national team India has a good striker.”

He continued, “But he needs time. We don't need to push him. We don't need to rush on him. He's a very young guy, and he's learning.”