FULL-TIME: Northeast United FC 1-1 Delhi Dynamos FC
Northeast United FC: 71′ B. Ogbeche (Penalty)
Delhi Dynamos FC: 67′ Marcos Tebar
Delhi put up a carbon copy performance against Northeast United as they did against Goa and dragged them to a draw in Guwahati tonight.
A combination of poor finishing by the Highlanders and resilient defending by the Delhi side was again the theme for tonight. Delhi did have their fair share of chances through the game and started the game well.
Northeast United were without the Croatian Mislav Komorski and Jose Leudo started in defence in his stead. Playing a double pivot in midfield they looked imbalanced and struggled to find their feet in the game.
Delhi had a couple of chances early on with Vinit Rai’s volleyed attempt going wide and Chhangte’s shot from a misplaced pass by TP Rehenesh straight at the keeper. Ulises Davila had a great chance when he arrived into the box unmarked, but once again it was at the keeper.
A tactical substitution in the 33rd minute for NEUFC saw Gurwinder Singh come on for Redeem Tlang. Jose Leudo stepped up into midfield as Northeast set themselves up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Leudo as the single pivot, Borges pushing up alongside Gallego and Ogbeche manning the frontline. The Greek attacking midfielder Panagiotis Triadis took up position on the left flank as Northeast United began to assert themselves.
Triadis was a menace from the left flank and time and again during the game left the Delhi players in his wake. He and Federico Gallego who is usually everywhere at once were the top creators for Northeast United. Gallego has been exceptional for Northeast most of this season and is second behind Jamshedpur’s Carlos Calvo in the overall Top Creator xG Leaderboards.
NEUFC had a great chance to take the lead first half stoppage time, but Triadis was denied by the post as the teams headed into the half-time break goalless.
Early in the second half, Northeast had a flurry of chances to take the lead as Ogbeche shot wide when he was 1v1 with the keeper and another attempt saw him head straight to the keeper from six yards out. Gallego had a couple of attempts on goal unmarked from inside the box, but nothing came off it.
Delhi took advantage of NEUFC’s profligacy in front of goal and scored in the 67th minute. Romeo Fernandes crossed in from the right flank and Rehenesh failed to deal with it and pawed the ball straight onto Tebar who tapped it in over the keeper.
Northeast found the equaliser minutes later after Ogbeche seemed to have gone down easily in the box from a challenge by the Delhi fullback Narayan Das. The former PSG man stepped up to take the spot kick and went level with Coro on top of the ISL goalscoring charts this season with 11 goals.
As the Running Sum and Team xG from the graph suggests, Northeast went full tilt in search of a winner after leveling the scores, but Delhi held on to pull off yet another ‘Great Escape.’
Northeast United find themselves in a bit of a rut after losing against Bengaluru FC and dropping points at home tonight. Having never qualified for the semi-finals before and with ATK and Jamshedpur FC snapping at their heels, they will have to find a result against second placed Mumbai City on Wednesday, Feb 13.