Two stoppage time goals gives NorthEast United their first win

NorthEast United finally had their first win of this season’s Hero Indian Super League 2015 when they defeated Chennaiyin FC 2-0 to leapfrog Mumbai City FC on 7th position in the Indian Super League standings.

Two stoppage time goals by NorthEast United’s marquee player Simao Sabrosa and Nicolas Velez were enough to defeat 10-man Chennaiyin FC who came into this fixture following their 2-0 victory over Mumbai City FC at Dr. D.Y Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai.

There was a major reshuffling in Chennaiyin FC’s line-up. Star player Stiven Mendoza was benched as ex Atletico de Kolkata striker Fikru made his way into the starting line-up with Jeje and Jayesh Rane supporting him at upfront.

The spectators saw a new pair of midfield from Chennaiyin FC as Skipper Elano was benched alongside Thoi Singh. Blasi, Pelissari started as a three man midfield with Khabra.

The host, NorthEast United too made few surprised changes as Nicolas Velez was replaced by Holicharan.

The game got off to an incredible start with NorthEast United FC’s Francis Dadzie almost giving his side the lead within 15 seconds of the start. Fikru Teferra nearly gave Chennaiyin FC the lead a minute later, but his chip from outside the box was just off target. Both sides had announced their intentions in the first two minutes itself.

On 18th minutes, Mumbai FC’s striker Jayesh Rane ran at NorthEast United’s defense menacingly but his shot went just wide. Jayesh has been impressive for Materazzi’s side in this campaign.

Chennaiyin FC’s Blasi became the first man to be booked as his challenge on Kamara turned out to be a mistimed tackle.

Ten minutes later, Blasi found space outside the box and got a shot away but the Highlander’s goalkeeper TP Rehenesh made a good save to deny Chennaiyin FC an opener.

On 38th minutes, the host were awarded a penalty when Alessandro Potenza brought down Cedric Hengbart which provided NorthEast United a golden opportunity to take the lead in front of 19000 jubilant fans at Indira Gandhi Stadium.

Kamara stepped up to take the penalty, his meek effort was saved by Chennaiyin FC’s Apoula Edel which was his second penalty save of the season.

Chennai’s joy though was short-lived as Khabra was sent off by the referee for remonstrating with the match official after his keeper had saved from the spot.

Amidst all the chaos, Alessandro Potenza was shown a yellow card for fouling Cedric Hengbart for fouling him inside the box.

The second half took some time to get going with the first chance falling Chennai’s way after Fikru blazed over the bar from a Chennaiyin FC counter-attack. NorthEast United FC head coach Cesar Farias didn’t wait for much longer and introduced Nicolas Velez for Kamara eight minutes into the second period. Sanju Pradhan replaced Hali Charan Narzary moments later as Farias looked to make their man-advantage count.

Around the hour mark, the Highlanders almost had a moment of magic that they were waiting for from Nicolas Velez who ran out of space in the end which eventually led to nothing more than a goal kick.

Marco Materazzi brought on Hero Indian Super League’s current top scorer Stiven Mendoza who replaced Fikru on the 64th minute.

Minute later, NorthEast United had a big chance to open the scoring, an excellent interplay between Dadzie and Haokip found Boithang who failed to hit the target with his shot.

Cesar Farias introduced NorthEast United’s marquee player Simao Sabrosa on 73rd minutes which is his first appearance in the Hero Indian Super League 2015.

The Portuguese came on to a standing ovation from 19,272 passionate fans who had filled up the stadium. And it could have been instant impact from Simao had he converted his left-footed volley four minutes from time.

Just when everyone thought that this match is heading to a draw, the host were awarded another penalty on 89th minute.  Nico Velez struck the post and Simao Sabrosa was fouled by Jayesh Rane in the very next moment as the referee pointed to the spot.

Marquee signing Simao stepped up and converted his spot kick in the stoppage time to give the host a vital lead.

Four minutes later, NorthEast United FC put the game to bed deep into additional time with composed finish by Velez after a free flowing counter to give NorthEast United FC their first win of Hero ISL 2015.

For his second penalty save of the season, Chennaiyin FC’s Apoula Edel was awarded with the “Hero of the Match” award.



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