ISL 2017: Northeast United FC preseason tour roundup
Northeast United FC, co-owned by Bollywood star John Abraham, represents the eight states of the Northeast region in India. The Highlanders, as they are fondly called, have appointed João Carlos Pires de Deus as the head coach for this season of the Indian Super League. The Portuguese was formerly the head coach of the Cape Verde national team and has had stints as a coach in Portugal and Spain.
In their inaugural season of ISL, they finished last under Ricki Herbert, while finishing fifth in the two subsequent seasons. For the pre-season, the Guwahati-based outfit first traveled to Imphal to play NEROCA FC, the second division champions.
Oct 22: NEROCA FC (2-0 Win)
With the returning Indian internationals Halicharan Narazary and Rowllin Borges, the Highlanders won the game 2-0. Goals from Danilo (57') and local lad Sushil Meetei (89') secured a comfortable victory in a full house Khuman Lampak Stadium.
The team boarded a plane to Antalya, Turkey as part of the preseason tour. The team played friendlies against Iraqi Premier League teams Al Kahraba, Al Naft, Naft Al Janoob. Here are the results:
Oct 27: Al Kahraba (1-0 Loss)
The Highlanders fought hard, but it was the Baghdad based club which prevailed in the end.
Oct 31: Al Naft SC (1-1 Draw)
Brazilian Danilo scored the goal to put NEUFC level against Iraqi League Runners-up Al Naft.
Nov 2: Naft Al Janoob (2-1 Win)
A brace by Marcinho and a penalty save by Rehenesh saw the Highlanders win their first preseason friendly.
Nov 5: Al Najaf (1-0 Loss)
NEUFC paid the price by conceding a late second half strike in its defeat against Al Najaf.
Nov 8: Naft Al Janoob SC (2-2 Draw)
A rematch between the two teams saw a four-goal thriller, with Luis Paez and Danilo scoring for the Highlanders.
Once the new season gets underway, Northeast United FC will face league newbies Jamshedpur FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on 18th November. The team's first away game is against 2015 champions Chennaiyin FC on 23rd November.