Oh, and Happy Diwali my peeps! Stay safe, and have a lot of fun! God Bless you all!
That was wonderfully entertaining match. It had a little of everything - fouls that ranged from the petulant to the thuggish, goalkeeping errors that ranged from the basic to the Kattimani, some brilliant individual performances (Alfaro, Yusa, Ralte and Postiga - please stand up now) and GOALS!
The goals themselves were very well worked, and there was plenty of goal mouth action at either end throughout. In the end NorthEast paid for sitting too deep, too early as Kolkata's big game players stepped up to the plate and put in game-winning performances. It was definitely one of those you call "a match of two-halves", but on the balance of things Kolkata deserved the win for their endeavour in the second half, though
The refereeing, though, was atrocious. The league REALLY REALLY needs to crack down on the men with the whistles here! NorthEast will rightfully feel aggrieved at the fouls and especially that Yusa claim - but such is Life.
Helder Postiga deserved the man of the match for turning the game on the head. It's simple math - great strikers win you matches. Kolkata will take some stopping if he stays fit
It was a pleasure covering this match along with you guys. Thank you for reading!
Anirudh Menon signing out!
97' Belencoso wins yet another freekick right in there corner and...
96' Belencoso beats Lima Gomes (the NorthEast keeper) outside the NorthEast box, but his first touch is rubbish and he is forced wide. He plays it to Postiga, but the Portuguese's shot is frantically blocked away
95' OH MY GOOD LORD!! What a clearance from Borja. Alfaro motors down the left and plays in a beautiful ball that is met by a flying Reagan Singh. That had beat Debjit and was going in, but Borja did superbly to get back and clear
94' SUBSTITUTION - Bikramjit ON, a limping MOondal OFF!!!
93' There's going to be some more added time. Postiga ad Belencoso are holding the ball at the corner, before the latter falls down under a little pressure.
THERE ARE SIX MINUTES OF ADDED TIME!!
90' That was sooooo close. Yusa chips in cleverly but it has too much oomph for Alfaro and Passi! That would have been such a brilliant goal!
89' That is the only way to stop Alfaro. He rampages down the center, but Robert takes him out. That's a YELLOW, young man
88' Alfaro does brilliantly to hold off what must have been atleast five ATK players and does even better to pick out Reagan Singh. His shot though is not upto the mark and is easily saved
87' Alfaro wriggles his way down the line at the left of the box before chuipping one in. It's too high for Passi, and the rebound is smacked into row Z by Yusa. THAT WAS A GREAT CHANCE!!!
86' Belencoso towers above everyone and clears with a fantastic header. NorthEast and Kolkata have inverted their game plans now. t's all NorthEast
85' Yusa gets CLATTERED FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME! This time by Sereno. It's a freekick in a dangerous position on the right wing that the Japanese himself will take
84' SUBSTITUTION - Rowlin Borges OFF, Passi ON. That's an attacking move from Vingada - quite naturally
83' OH DEBJIT!!! The keeper comes out to grab the ball, but he cannot touch the ball. It drops to Yusa, but the Japanese cannot get a shot away!!! THAT WAS SO CLOSE FOR NORTHEAST!!! AND ATROCIOUS GOALKEEPING FROM DEBJIT DA!
Oh NorthEast. That was such horrible defending! Postiga breaks in on the left of the box, and plays the ball across. Juan Belencos ALL ALONE IN THE PENALTY BOX HAS THE SIMPLE TASK OF TAPPING IT IN FROM THREE YARDS OUT!
superb play from Kolkata, rubbish from NorthEast
79' Kolkata are bossing possesion, but North East are looking to attack at evey opportunity. Wellington tries to backheel - Socrates stlye - in Alfaro; but Pearson is having none of it
78' Kolkata will be looking to test the new goalkeeper. It's got to be so tough being a substitute goalie - you are never really sure about the conditions on the pitch!
77' SUBSTITUTIONS for NorthEast - Subrata Paul OFF, Lima Gomes ON; the exciting Robert Cullen OFF for Reagan Singh (that's defensive!)
71' Subrata Paul looks down and out. He looks like he pulled his hamstring. Their substitute goalkeeper is foreign, so they will have to take off a foreign outfield player too - this could get interesting!
70' Robert wins Kolkata a corner. Javi Lara takes it short. Didika swings in a delicious ball into the box. SERENO CHALLENGES PAUL FOR IT, AND THE BALL BOUNCES TO PRITAM KHOTAL WHO KICKS IT WIDE FROM ALL OF ONE YARD!!! HOW DID HE MISS THAT!!!! AAAAAAAAARGH!!!
It wouldn't have mattered if he had scored anyway, the ref had blown for something. It was neither a foul, nor offside, so I assume the ref just fancied himself a shot to fame with his own rendition of "whistle podu" (that catchy Chennai Super Kings anthem - sorry for the IPL reference)
68' Postiga crosses it in, but there's no one there and it bounces away
67' Narzary gets the ball in the box, but the ball bounces of what looked like his shoulder. The ref, though, blows for a handball and Kolkata can breathe again
66' WHAT WAS THAT!! Kolkata faff around the ball outside their box like they are Barca or something. Pearson gifts it to Alfaro, who plays in Yusa - but the Japanese is bullied off - fairly- and Kolkata clear
64' Didika puts in again, but Borges pinches it from Postiga's toes. NorthEast need to get out of their shell, and they need to do it pronto!
Postiga bullets a header in after a peach of a cross from Didika! That was brilliant from the Portuguese superstar - he has looked sharp since coming on!
Postiga has been class in the game so far. That's a delightful header into the net. It's been all ATK in the second half so far.
58' Stephanie Meyer's dream boy (Cullen) takes a shot from the edge of the box, but Mondal and Sereno throw themselves at it and it's blocked off
57' Kolkata are passing the ball around well, but there's very little penetration. Javi Lara swings it in. India's very own spiderman catches it comfortably. Nirmal Chettri then sells Paul short with a weak back pass, but the goalie does well to clear. Paul looks at Chettri with the look of an old uncle admonishing his nephew, and Chettri reciprocates with an appropriatly sheepish half-smile
Subrata Paul has been pretty convincing in this game. He has had his moments in the tournament but he has been composed today and that should give his backline much confidence.
NorthEast still looking threatening especially on the counter and with ATK not scoring freely at all, a second goal might just seal it for the host.
56' This is turning prickly. Tackles are flying in left right and centre. We're a beer or two away from both benches clearing out baseball style
55' WHAT A FREEKICK. Katsumi Yusa swings in a delicious ball into the far post that just eludes a diving Emiliano Alfaro. Phew!
53' Arnab Mondal sweeps Alfaro's feet right from under him. It's a YELLOW for the Kolkata defender.
52' Postiga takes another snapshot, and he wins another corner. It's a useless corner from Javi Lara but Postiga's introduction has livened up Kolkata's attack
51' AUDACIOUS FROM POSTIGA! He tries to lob Subrata Paul from the half-way line Xabi Alonso stlye. He is NOT Alonso.
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