NorthEast United FC hosted last season’s champions Chennaiyin FC in their first game after the Asian Cup break in Guwahati.
This season has seen the fortunes turn for both the clubs as Chennaiyin are languishing at the bottom of the league table, while the Highlanders find themselves at fourth position and with a glorious opportunity to make the playoffs for the first time in their Indian Super League history.
Both the teams were looking to get off to a winning start after the break. Chennaiyin has only pride to play for in the remaining games.
NorthEast United, on the other hand, have all to play for in the remaining games as they are on the verge of a maiden playoff appearance.
The first 15 minutes of the game was a dull affair, but after the initial stages, the game slowly began to open up.
NorthEast United created a flurry of chances in the closing stages of the first half. Both the teams went into the half time break with the scoreboard reading 0-0.
NorthEast United started as the better team in the second half and created much more chances and had more possession of the ball.
Ogebeche scored in the dying moments of the game to give NorthEast United a crucial victory.
On that note let us take a look at the five talking points from today's game.
#5 Poor refereeing decisions keep plaguing the league.
It was the 19th minute Federico Gallego darted inside the box with the ball and beat Germanpreet Singh, but the Chennaiyin FC midfielder lunged into the Uruguayan midfielder and bought him down inside the box.
A penalty should have been awarded to NorthEast United, but the Referee only awarded a goal-kick for Chennaiyin.
It was probably the easiest decision the referee had to make and still managed to make the wrong decision.
What was even more shocking was that since the referee didn't give the penalty, he should have booked Gallego for diving but didn't do that too.
If the quality of refereeing remains the same, then the overall development of Indian football will be hampered.
#4 Chennaiyin FC missing a leader on the pitch
This season Chennaiyin have been nowhere near to their best and are languishing at the bottom of the table.
While most of their players are having a bad patch of form, the team in general looks to be a disjointed unit as a whole.
They have been missing someone like an Henrique Sereno this season as there seems to be no one around who can uplift and lead the team on the pitch.
This season Chennaiyin FC have a lot of youngsters in their squad, and they need a leader who can guide them on the pitch and help them get in shape mentally during a game especially in situations when the team isn't doing very well.
Most of the senior Indian players for Chennaiyin haven't been able to perform well this season, and that has affected the junior players too.
Players like Thoi and Karanjit need to shoulder the responsibility of uplifting the younger players on the pitch.
#3 NorthEast's Triadis a hit while Chennaiyin's new recruits fail to impress
NorthEast United FC's new signing, Panagiotis Triadis, had an impressive debut and won over the Highlanders faithful with his skills and pace down the flanks.
The youngster created more than a few problems for the Chennaiyin FC defence and was dangerous down the left side for Northeast United FC. The way he regained possession of the ball was something that caught everyone's eye.
Chennaiyin's new signing Halicharan Narzary and C.K Vineeth didn't have a debut to remember as they failed to produce anything meaningful.
Vineeth, in particular, looked tired during the second half and was rightly substituted. Halicharan needs more time to gell with his new teammates as they appeared to be out of sync during the course of the game.
Chennaiyin FC had high hopes from Vineeth and Narzary but it seems they have to wait for a while till both the former Kerala Blasters FC players find their feet with their new team.
The Highlanders will hope that Triadis builds on his impressive debut and help the team in the remaining five games to get the desired results.
#2 Ogbeche is NorthEast United's go-to man for goals
NorthEast United FC is over-reliant on Bartholomew Ogbeche for goals. He has scored ten goals this season making him the first Northeast player to get into double digits in the Indian Super League.
He is already the clubs all-time leading goal scorer and will look to keep his scoring momentum going for the remaining of the season.
The goal which the Nigerian International scored against the defending champions was of the highest quality and is probably one of the goals of the season.
The left-footed strike from around 30 yards out left the whole Chennaiyin FC squad stunned as the Highlanders rode to victory due to that goal.
Ogbeche, in general, has been an overall leader in the squad on and off the pitch. His experience of playing in top-level leagues in Europe has helped NorthEast United this season.
His combination with Federico Gallego has been very fruitful for the Highlanders, and it has been their primary source for goals.
Many footballing experts have praised Ogbeche's ability to hold the ball up front and bring the others around him into the game.
#1 NorthEast United FC high on confidence ahead of a crucial phase in the league
The Highlanders are on the verge of a maiden Indian Super League play-off place. With five games to left to play for NorthEast United FC, two wins and a draw should be enough for the Highlanders to book their place in the semifinals of Indian Super League.
While it sounds easy, the task won't be as easy as it seems for the Highlanders as trips to Bangalore, Mumbai and Kerala await.
This phase of five games will be tricky for the Highlanders as all the teams have had a gap of one month to work on their highs and lows.
Teams like Delhi and Pune who have nothing but pride to play for will be tough fixtures for Eelco's boys as they will look to salvage some lost pride.
Another thing that could be a factor for NorthEast United FC is their over-dependence on Ogbeche and Gallego for goals. If the duo of Ogbeche and Gallego is kept quiet then literally Northeast United fail to produce anything meaningful.
The thing that will help the side going into this tough run of fixtures is that the team is high on confidence after getting the better of Chennaiyin FC in their first game after the break and wholly dominated last season's champions.
If The Highlanders manage to keep their feet grounded and play their usual game, then they should secure a place in the playoffs for the first time this season.