Dominant and hard to beat: NorthEast United FC’s journey as eISL Season 2 champions
NorthEast United FC has emerged as the champions of the eISL after a dominant campaign that saw them remain unbeaten for the majority of the season. The team was led by two standout players, Emaad and Saransh, who displayed exceptional skills and determination throughout the tournament.
Emaad, who was retained from the previous season, finished second in the MVP race with 32 goals to his name. He played a crucial role in NorthEast United's championship-winning campaign, scoring important goals in crucial games. Saransh, who qualified through the qualifiers after winning the league with Chennaiyin FC in Season 1, was also a key player for the team. Together, they scored 76 goals, which was the second-highest in the league, and had six wins each, the joint second-highest among all teams.
Bringing it home!! 🤩🏆#NEUFC #StrongerAsOne #8States1United #FIFA23 #FIFA pic.twitter.com/5mJRaSzdaD— NorthEast United FC (@NEUtdFC) May 7, 2023
After starting their campaign with a loss to Bengaluru FC in their opener, NorthEast United FC went on to win seven straight games, displaying their dominance in the league. They only allowed 43 goals, which was the best defense in the league all season, and finished second in the table in the league stage games.
In the playoffs, NorthEast United FC continued their impressive form, dominating their opponents Kerala Blasters FC, winning all three games in the first leg. Although they suffered their only loss in the semifinals when Emaad lost to Shubam in a thrilling game that ended in a penalty shootout, they bounced back and faced Bengaluru FC in the finals, a rematch of their opening fixture.
The first match was played between Charanjot and Saransh, who are teammates on Team India, and Charanjot proved his mettle with a convincing 4-1 win. However, NorthEast United FC continued their unbeaten streak in the co-op games and leveled the tie 1-1 after a thrilling penalty shootout. In the decider, Emaad faced off against Sagnik in what turned out to be one of the best games all season. Sagnik showed great heart, coming back from being down two and conceding a penalty early in the game, but Emaad scored the go-ahead goal in the 75th minute and held on to win the game and the eISL title.
Both Emaad and Saransh displayed expert-level skills and grit through the season, pushing the levels at which the game was played. Saransh became the first person to win back-to-back titles, winning with Chennaiyin FC in the previous season and now with NorthEast United FC. Both players have now qualified to represent the club at the FGS play-ins tournament.
This title marks a significant achievement for NorthEast United FC, as it is their first championship in all competitions. The team's impressive performance throughout the season, along with the outstanding display of skills by Emaad and Saransh, has cemented their place as one of the top teams in the eISL.