NorthEast United and Jamshedpur FC played out an exciting 3-3 draw in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash on Monday at the Sarusajai Stadium, Guwahati.
Playing for pride, both managers made a host of changes to the starting line-ups from their last games. Youngsters were presented with an opportunity to prove themselves, with the likes of Amarjit Singh, Rafique Ali, Sandip Mandi and Ninthoinganba Meetei earning a start.
The host dominated proceedings and took an early lead through Gallego. Ninthoi was the architect of the move that saw the youngster split the Jamshedpur defence with an incredible through-ball in the path of Andrew Keogh.
The Irishman’s first touch was not the best and Subhasish Roy Chowdhury was able to get down and make a comfortable save. But the ball then landed at the feet of Gallego, and the net was left unprotected with the custodian still down after the initial save. The Uruguayan slotted it in comfortably to make it 1-0.
The Highlanders were in control for most parts of the first half and displayed some impressive passing movements across the pitch, with Lalengmawia playing a key role in making it happen. But they were just unable to add a second, despite winning as many as six corners in one half alone.
The Men of Steel were passive for most parts of the second half but struck deep in added time to make it 1-1. Grande leapt above every player in a NorthEast shirt to head home Amarjit’s cross and equalise the scores against the run of play.
The second half was evenly contested by both sides, with the equaliser providing Jamshedpur with the momentum to push forward in search of a second.
But it was the Highlanders who drew first blood yet again, with a lurking Redeem latching on to Sandip Mandi’s poor clearance off Martin Chaves’ cross and slotting it in with an acrobatic effort.
Minutes later, the Men of Steel were handed an opportunity to level the scores again after Wayne Vaz was penalised for handling the ball in the area. Acosta’s poor spot-kick was stopped by Subhasish at the expense of a corner. Seconds later, the Spaniard saw his shot from inside the box deflected to the upright by the opposite custodian before being cleared off the line by Kai Heerings.
However, it did not take long for Acosta to redeem himself with a brilliant goal from outside the area to make it 2-2.