East Bengal FC and NorthEast United FC played out a 3-3 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Wednesday.
The Red and Gold brigade played the first draw of their season as they remained in ninth position in the Indian Super League points table and practically out of the play-off race. NEUFC, on the other hand, got their first points away from home but are now confirmed to finish last.
NorthEast United started the game on the front foot from the referee’s whistle as Parthib Gogoi raced down the right but his shot didn’t yield a goal.
In the fifth minute, Parthib again created a chance for Kule Mbombo with a precise cutback but the foreign forward failed to even hit the target from mere inches from goal.
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Minutes later, Mbombo missed another opportunity to score as Jithin MS put in another pin-point ball into the feet of the forward but he ended up backheeling it across the face of the goal.
At the other end, Cleiton Silva converted the first chance he got at the 10th-minute mark.
#EBFCNEU was a 6️⃣-goal thriller with neither side able to score the decisive goal in #Kolkata! 👊😮#HeroISL #LetsFootball #EastBengalFC #NorthEastUnitedFC pic.twitter.com/XIegbEc3oO— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 8, 2023
Jerry Lalrinzuala found Cleiton with a quick throw-in and on receiving it back played a one-two with Alexandre Lima. He looked up to drill a powerful cross as Cleiton got in front of his marker headed masterfully past Arindam Bhattacharya.
Naorem Singh tried his best to double the lead for East Bengal but was thwarted by Arindam and then had another cutback cleared off the feet of Cleiton.
Kamaljit Singh in the East Bengal goal had been having a relatively quieter evening. He was jolted by a lightning strike into the top right corner in the 30th minute.
Two minutes later, Jithin MS got the Highlanders into the lead with a lovely finish.
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As the East Bengal players claimed a handball, NEUFC were alert to the referee’s whistle, or lack thereof. Romain Philippoteaux slid Jithin in behind with a superb through ball as he slotted it past the on-rushing keeper Kamaljit.
Reeling from the back-to-back surprises, Jake Jervis scored his first goal in the ISL with a stunning bicycle kick.
.@NEUtdFC equalise in the dying minutes through a #ImranKhan effort! 🎯⚽#EBFCNEU #HeroISL #LetsFootball #EastBengalFC #NorthEastUnitedFC pic.twitter.com/fDO6trdFUL— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 8, 2023
At the end of the first minute of added time after 45, Mohamad Rakip’s long throw-in went to Sumeet Passi inside the penalty box as he headed it behind into the crowded area of EBFC and NEUFC players. Jervis reacted first with an audacious strike to get East Bengal level going into the break.
After the restart, East Bengal piled on the pressure from the left but NEUFC’s Romain Philippoteaux sent in a brilliant across the face of the goal with Jithin’s snap-shot sailing over the crossbar in the 51st minute.
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It was East Bengal though who scored in the 64th minute as Cleiton was pushed by Alex Saji in the penalty box trying to meet Sumeet Passi’s cross. The referee pointed to the penalty spot as the Brazilian forward netted his 12th goal for the season.
Either coaches made changes to the personnel on the pitch looking for the next decisive goal as Naorem’s effort was parried and then gathered by Arindam in the 71st minute.
Two of NEUFC’s new faces on the field combined for the equaliser in the 85th minute.
After a miss-kick from Hira Mondal, another substitute, the ball fell to Gani Nigam on the right, who cut it back for Imran Khan to run in and blast the ball into the back of the net and bring parity to the scoreline.
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