NorthEast United FC ended the league stage of the Hero Indian Super League with a 3-2 win over FC Pune City on Wednesday and will now nervously wait for their fortunes to be decided when Chennaiyin FC face off against the Stallions.
NorthEast United FC manager Cesar Farias had promised an attacking approach in the last match and he delivered exactly that, as the Highlanders went ahead twice within eighteen minute before eventually going on to win the match 3-2.
Both sides made four changes to their lineups as Nico Velez, Bruno Arias, Andre Bikey and Aibor Khongjee made their return to the lineup for NEUFC, while Kalu Uche, Jackichand, Roger Johnson and Govin Singh made their return for the visitors.
The Highlanders, who needed a victory to sustain their challenge for a berth in the semis, made the perfect start to the match as Nicolas Velez tapped it past Arindam Bhattacharya from Victor Mendya s cross on the fourth minute of the match.
FC Pune City, who also needed a victory to sustain their challenge for the semis, soon pegged backed NorthEast United FC with a brilliant equaliser on the eighth minute, as James Bailey curled the ball past Andre Bikey into the top corner after Didier Zokora layed it off for the Englishman just outside the penalty box.
NorthEast United FC again went on to break the deadlock on the eighteen minute, as the Highlanders again benefited from some lax defending after Arindam Bhattacharya failed to reach to the ball after some brilliant footwork from Velez in the wings. Diomansy Kamara got the goal with an easy tap in after that.
Andre Bikey then went on to double the lead just before the break as the former Cameroon international headed in a Bruno Herrero freekick. The second half continued in the same vein as NorthEast United FC looked to improve their goal difference.
FC Pune City did manage to score a consolation goal late in the second half, as Adrian Mutu punished the Highlanders for conceding a free kick just outside the box. The goal severely dented NorthEast United FCa s chance of qualifying for the knockout stage, as Chennaiyin FC who are one point behind them having played one match less, have a goal difference of’ ‘+9’, while NorthEast have a gaol difference of ‘-5’.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media Team