Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United played out a 2-2 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Fatorda Stadium tonight in what was a scintillating game of football. Both sides gave it their all and in the end, it was a fair reflection of their efforts.
The match started with NorthEast taking an early lead. In the 4th minute, VP Suhair, who was starting his first match this season, carried the ball down the right before laying it off for Rochharzela. The Manipuri came inside and his left footed attempt took a deflection off Luis Machado’s shoulder, leaving Gurpreet Singh wrong-footed (1-0). Bengaluru responded brilliantly though, and equalized nine minutes later. A long throw from Rahul Bheke initiated a game of pinball inside the box before Juanan smashed it home from close range (1-1).
Machado was the liveliest amongst the Highlanders and he tried to curl in one soon after but failed. For Bengaluru, Ashique Karuniyan was the brightest spark and it was his marauding run down the left and shot across goal that threatened to restore the lead for them. It was a very open and end to end first half and Harmanjot Singh Khabra came close next. The experienced right back latched on to a cross from Ashique but fired his left-footed shot just wide.
As the half meandered on, Bengaluru looked closer to scoring with most of their threat originating from set-pieces. The second half began on a similarly exciting note as Kwesi Appiah’s header from the centre of the box was saved brilliantly by Gurpreet. Then in the 64th minute substitute Kristian Opseth’s shot was saved by Gurmeet Singh from point blank range. It was a pity therefore, that Gurmeet was at fault for Bengaluru’s second goal. A cross from the right was headed down by Chhetri beyond the defence. Udanta was quickest to reach it and his low shot went through the goalkeeper’s hands and into the net (2-1).
Gerard Nus’ men weren't ready to give up though. Soon after that, substitute Britto PM’s long ball was flicked on by the other substitute Idrissa Sylla. It fell kindly to Luis Machado after Juanan failed to clear it to safety. The Portuguese winger made no mistake in slotting it past Gurpreet thereafter (2-2).
In the end it was a fair result considering the chances that both sides created. Ashique Karuniyan was the most prominent for The Blues as he went on a number of mazy runs down the left and put in some incredible crosses. For the Highlanders, it was Luis Machado who looked the most dangerous with his trickery and ability to create space for himself and others.
A point each means both the teams stay unbeaten in the league. NorthEast United move to 2nd on the points table behind Mumbai City who play tomorrow. They will line up against Chennaiyin FC in their next fixture. Further down the table, Bengaluru move up to 4th just below ATK Mohun Bagan. They play Kerala Blasters next.