NorthEast United FC revived their Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win against East Bengal at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda, Goa on Friday. It was the second win of the season for the Highlanders. (More Football News)
The result extended East Bengal's winless run to seven games, and they are firmly at the bottom of the ISL points table.
V.P. Suhair (61’) broke the deadlock by scoring his second goal of the season to give NEUFC a crucial lead. Patrick Flottmann (68’) extended the advantage by scoring his first goal in the ISL.
NEUFC’s evening started on a negative note as they lost Hernan Santana to injury during the warm-up. The first 30-minutes of the game did not have any clear scoring opportunities as both teams canceled each other out.
SCEB saw their centre-back Franjo Prce leave the pitch due to a twisted ankle and was replaced by Amir Dervisevic in the first half.
Rochharzela of NorthEast and Naorem Mahesh of East Bengal received a yellow card each for reckless tackles before the break.
There was a clear lack of quality in the final third from both teams as there were no shots on target in the first 45-minutes.
The second half started with an immediate yellow card to NorthEast' Lalkhawpuimawia whose shot just before the hour mark from inside the box headed straight at the goalkeeper.
However, at the stroke of the 61-minute mark, an unforced error from Raju Gaikwad gave the ball away to NEUFC players and the subsequent cross was picked up by V.P. Suhair, who scored from close-range. Suhair's right-footed shot went past the goalkeeper after hitting the inside of the left-sided post.
A few minutes later, Patrick Flottmann buried a header from point-blank range to extend NorthEast's lead to two goals.
Khassa Camara and Mathias Coureur came close to scoring as well but their attempts went wide respectively.
To add insult to injury, East Bengal forward Antonio Perosevic was shown a direct red card late in the game for barging into referee Rahul Kumar Gupta out of frustration.
The Highlanders defended their advantage well and held on to secure crucial three points in the battle of the bottom-placed teams.
NorthEast United FC await the challenge of ATK Mohun Bagan at the PJN Stadium in their next outing on Tuesday while East Bengal will face Manolo Marquez’s Hyderabad FC at the Athletic Stadium on Thursday.