NorthEast United FC registered a superb 3-1 victory against Odisha FC in the 93rd match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa. Khalid Jamil’s side registered their fourth victory after he took over as their interim head coach.
NorthEast United FC made a bright start to the game. Luis Machado chested down a cross before releasing a fine strike that was deflected for a corner. Machado eventually took the lead for NorthEast United FC in the ninth minute with a sumptuous volley. Ashutosh Mehta delivered a cross into the box and the Portuguese hit it to kick off the day’s proceedings.
The Highlanders continued to dominate before Federico Gallego almost set up a second goal for Machado. But Jacob Tratt came up with a terrific block in the six-yard box to deny the Portuguese.
A few minutes later, Odisha FC got another blow when Arshdeep Singh let a Deshorn Brown strike go through his legs. Gallego made a fantastic through ball to release Brown on the left side of the box and the Jamaican bagged his fourth goal of the season in a fortuitous manner.
NorthEast United FC’s cracking start got even better in the 24th minute with Machado heading the ball past Arshdeep following a chipped pass from Gallego. After the cooling break, Bradden Inman received the ball from Daniel Lalhlimpuia and released a shot but it was easily saved by Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.
At the other end, Gallego came up with yet another through ball for Brown but Arshdeep came up trumps this time with a fantastic save. Just when it looked like Odisha FC won’t have a chance for a comeback, Inman’s shot from an acute angle took a deflection off Mashoor Shereef and went in.
Odisha FC could have banked on the momentum of that late first-half goal to make a good start to the second half. However, Jerry Mawihmingthanga’s poor cross was caught easily by Subhasish. A better delivery could have put Daniel in a good position to score. Machado then tried to become the provider for Gallego but his shot only found the side-netting.
The Kalinga Warriors soon had an opportunity to reduce the gap. Diego Mauricio's cross from the by-line was put behind for a corner. Brad Inman produced a nice ball from the set-piece but Jacob Tratt headed it wide.
At the other end, Arshdeep prevented Luis Macado from getting a hat-trick with a superb diving save. The veteran Subhasish then spilled a header from Diego Mauricio. Danger was soon averted as the ball was immediately cleared by a NorthEast United FC defender. Thereafter, Steven Taylor’s header struck the cross-bar following an Inman cross.
NorthEast United FC left-back Gurjinder Kumar was then sent off in the 86th minute after being booked for the second time, but by then they were far ahead. In fact, Deshorn Brown tried to add another goal to their tally only to see Arshdeep saving it superbly. In the end, NorthEast United FC wrapped up a fantastic win to boost their play-off chances.
Who was the Hero of the Match?
The magician Federico Gallego bagged yet another ‘Hero of the Match’ award for his fantastic performance against Odisha FC. He was absolutely sensational and provided assists for Luis Machado and Deshorn Brown.
The 30-year-old could have easily had at least two more assists but Odisha FC’s defense ensured that the scoreline didn’t get worse. Gallego now has four goals and six assists in just 13 appearances and this reflects his importance to the NorthEast United FC side.