Bengaluru: NorthEast United’s short span of resurgence that fetched them crucial wins against two of the top three teams in Goa and Chennaiyin however couldn’t fastball them to another victory against Bengaluru FC, who completed a double with a 2-1 win against the ‘Highlanders’ at the Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday.
The win which was their fourth in five matches, that propelled them back to the pole position with 24 points from 12 games. But NorthEast continue to linger at the ninth place on 10 points having played a game less.
This was also the first time the visitors lost a game this season after making it 1-1 at one stage.
Juanan Antonio had headed the hosts ahead as early as the 14th minute but Marcinho’s penalty restored parity in the second minute of extra time, before captain Sunil Chhetri scored the winner in the 51st with a first-time shot to surpass Jeje as the highest Indian goal scorer in the ISL this term. He now has eight goals, one more than Jeje after 12 rounds of matches.
But at half-time it would have been NorthEast who’d have walked into the dugout much happier, having started better and also fighting their way back after going behind. They could have well scored one earlier had Seminlen Doungel’s cheeky back-flick been on target.
Confident after a breath-taking hat-trick against Chennaiyin, the 24 year-old was once again at the thick of action minutes after the missed flick, with a diagonal ball for Danilo Cezario who failed to find the target.
Bengaluru however had taken the lead after Edu Garcia’s cross from a free-kick somehow managed to find Juana’s header and landed inside the net. Chhetri then came close but goalkeeper Rehenesh collected the ball.
Both the sides had plenty of shots but found the target just three times and what was more staggering was Bengaluru’s conversion rate. Two out of the total three shot landed inside the net and it was only due to luck that the visitors score the goal.
Subhashish Bose was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the box while blocking Doungel’s attempt and Marcinho made no mistake from the spot after the referee pointed to the penalty.
But NorthEast United’s defence continued to ship in goals and on Friday it was from a Sambinha miakte of not covering the Indian captain enough for the ‘Highlanders’ to concede a second time.
Substitute John Jairo Mosquera came the closest for NorthEast but headed wide at the brink of final whistle.