NorthEast United FC’s poor run of form continued as they suffered a 2-4 defeat at the hands of Hyderabad FC in the 51st match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa. The Highlanders did score two quick goals to end the first-half with a 2-2 scoreline but Liston Colaco changed the match with an amazing brace.
The confidence from the emphatic win over Chennaiyin FC was evident as Hyderabad FC started on an amazing note. In just the third minute, Australian Joel Chianese made a cracking run after picking up the ball in midfield before laying a pass to Aridane Santana in the six-yard box. The Hyderabad FC skipper was never going to miss from there as he poked the ball past Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.
Portuguese winger Luis Machado looked lively for NorthEast United FC but he didn’t get enough support from his teammates for the initial part of the first half. Apart from testing Laxmikant Kattimani with a long-range effort, Machado also set up Idrissa Sylla but the Guinean missed a free header. The Highlanders continued to dominate that period but didn’t get any reward due to some poor work in the final third.
Hyderabad FC made them pay for it after the cooling break as Joel Chianese got himself on the scoresheet in the 36th minute. After Akash Mishra managed to win the duel with Benjamin Lambot, Chianese wasn’t challenged by any NorthEast United FC defender as he curled the ball into the net.
Just when it looked like Hyderabad FC will go into the break with a 2-0 lead, Halicharan Narzary conceded a penalty after tripping Ashutosh Mehta in the box. The decision to award the penalty was questionable as Narzary’s initial contact came outside the penalty area. Subsequently, Federico Gallego sent the ball into the net to cut Hyderabad FC’s lead into half. There was more drama as Benjamin Lambot equalized for NorthEast United in stoppage time.
The goal came after a chaotic phase when several NorthEast United FC players could have scored from Ashutosh Mehta’s cross. However, just when the opportunity seemed to have slipped away, Lambot got hold off the ball and came up with his second ISL goal.
In the second-half, Luis Machado was in action soon when he blasted his shot way over the target after receiving a fine cross from Ashutosh Mehta. At the other end, Lluis Sastre delivered a nice free-kick to Aridane Santana but Benjamin Lambot defended it very well. Just like he did in the first half, Machado tried his luck from distance but Laxmikant Kattimani came to the rescue again. Out of the resulting corner, VP Suhair could have scored but he powered his header over the bar.
The match became quiet for a period before substitute Liston Colaco showed his X-factor to come up with a brace. Liston’s first goal, in particular, was amazing as he dribbled past a few opposition defenders before curling the ball into the top-left corner. The Goan youngster then restored the initial two-goal lead after being set-up by Aridane Santana. Colaco got behind NorthEast United FC’s defense before slotting the ball inside the far post in a composed manner. These two goals saw Hyderabad FC seal a 4-2 win in the end.
ISL 2020-21, NEUFC vs HFC: Who was the Hero of the Match?
Australian forward Joel Chianese was named as the ‘Hero of the Match’ for coming up with an assist and also a goal in the first half. Despite scoring a goal against Chennaiyin FC, Chianese fluffed a lot of golden opportunities against NorthEast.
Playing as a No.10 behind Aridane Santana, Chianese constantly troubled NorthEast United FC’s defense with his footwork and pace. Even Santana would agree that a large part of the credit for Hyderabad FC’s first goal should go to Chianese as he set it up on a platter. The 30-year-old had to do a lot for his goal although Akash Mishra kept the ball alive in a fantastic manner.Published 09 Jan 2021, 10:50 IST