A fulfilling outing for Federico Gallego highlighted with an assist and a spectacular goal helped NorthEast United down ATK Mohun Bagan 2-1 in the Indian Super League at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday.
The first half was a cagey affair, illustrated by the fact that both teams had only one shot on target each at the end of it. NorthEast stuck to defending its area and did not have too many completed passes in the opposition half. Bagan had its first chance in as early as the eighth minute. Krishna found Javi Hernandez through a cut-back but the midfielder’s shot was wide.
It was ATKMB which kept more of the ball and looked the more threatening throughout the first half, but that was not to say that NorthEast did not have its chances. Just after the half-hour-mark, Bagan keeper Arindam Bhattacharja was forced to make a save after Machado received the ball from Gallego and took a shot.
The Mariners nearly went ahead at the stroke of halftime as David Williams, after getting the ball from Hernandez, tried to find the onrushing Prabir Das, who missed it by inches.
The opening goal when it came arrived in controversial circumstances. ATKMB defender Tiri gave away the ball cheaply as it bounced off Gallego and ran loose behind the defence. Tiri found himself in a race with Machado to get to the ball first. The Spaniard, though, took a tumble under pressure from Machado and the linesman’s flag went straight up. Referee Crystal John, however, did not stop play and Machado duly slotted it past Arindam. Despite vigorous protests by Bagan, John allowed the goal after consulting the linesman.
RESULTS: NorthEast United 2 (Machado 60, Gallego 81) bt ATK Mohun Bagan 1 (Roy Krishna 72). On Monday: Chennaiyin FC 1 (Goncalves 76-pen) drew with Mumbai City 1 (Ogbeche 21)