KICK-OFF: Dec. 5, 7.30PM IST (GMT +5.30), Indira Gandhi Stadium, Guwahati.
Channel; Streaming: Star Sports HD1, 1, 3; Hotstar, Jio TV.
The current top 2 in the Indian Super League Bengaluru FC and Northeast United will go head to head in Guwahati tonight in what should be a tactical game of chess on the pitch.
Bengaluru who are on top of the table have won six consecutive games and are in ominous form. Though they have been without the services of Miku who is out at least till December, they have been able to replace some of his goals from other players on the pitch.
Rahul Bheke and Udanta Singh have popped up with goals when needed in their previous games against Pune City, Delhi Dynamos and FC Goa. Their midfield has been solid as ever with Erik Paartalu and Harmanjot Khabra intercepting play and mopping up loose balls.
The Blues’ defence is the meanest in the league. They have conceded a paltry six goals from eight appearances. Going into tonight’s game, Bengaluru’s back four will face one of their toughest challenges so far in the season. They will be up against the top scorer in the league, Bartholomew Ogbeche, who has eight goals from nine appearances.
Aside from Ogbeche, the Uruguayan attacking midfielder Federico Gallego has been in fantastic form for NEUFC and has been one of the foreign signings of the season. Backed by Jose Leudo and Rowllin Borges in midfield, Northeast United will be looking for all three points at home to atone for the dull, uninspiring draw against Jamshedpur FC.
On a similar note, Bengaluru FC will have a challenge on their hands to score against NEUFC. The Highlanders have also been miserly in defence having conceded eight goals from nine matches.
Backed by good home support and Bengaluru with a slight chink in their armour in the absence of Miku, this is as good as chance Northeast United are going to get to drive a stake through Bengaluru tonight.
FULL-TIME: Northeast United 1-1 Bengaluru FC
90+2′ – GOAL! 1-1 (Chencho Gyeltshen, Bengaluru FC)
64′ – GOAL! 1-0 (Federico Gallego, Northeast United)
Northeast United: 84′ Juan Mascia (Federico Gallego); 78′ Gurwinder Singh (Redeem Tlang); 77′ R. Singh (Provat Lakra).
Bengaluru FC: 87′ Kean Lewis (Nishu Kumar); 71′ Chencho (Alberto Serran).
Bengaluru FC left it late again and managed to salvage a point against a dominant Northeast United. The Highlanders were the better team overall in the game and were especially good in the first half.
In the second half, NEUFC went ahead in the 66th minute when Ogbeche found Federico Gallego in space on the far side of the 18-yard box. The Uruguayan collected the ball, sidestepped the Bengaluru defender Albert Serran and scored through the keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. A poor piece of marking by Harmanjot Khabra who left Gallego in acres of space.
After going up by a goal, Northeast United sat back to defend the lead and played on the counter. Bengaluru pushed more players forward and NEUFC had a couple of chances on the counter, but did not succeed in doubling their lead.
Bengaluru’s surge ahead paid off in second-half stoppage time when a Kean Lewis cross found Sunil Chhetri in the box. The Indian captain headed the ball across to the Bhutanese forward Chencho Gyeltshen who scored from a spectacular bicycle kick to level the scores.
Here’s a look at the xG graph from last night’s game.
Courtesy: Grey Area Analytics
With the draw, there is no change in the top 2 with Bengaluru FC leading the pack and Northeast United close behind. The Highlanders finally managed to stop Bengaluru’s winning run of six consecutive games and are the only team apart from Jamshedpur to grab a point from the Blues’ this season.