Rolwllin’s Borges’ 89th-minute goal sealed full points for Eelco Schattorie’s side against a 10-man ATK.
ATK coach Steve Coppell fielded an unchanged starting line-up from the defeat to Kerala Blasters in the season opener. Tweaking his tactics from the first match, Coppell deployed a 4-4-2 formation with Manuel Lanzarote and Balwant Singh as strikers.
Eelco Schattorie made just one change in the NorthEast United FC starting lineup. Robert Lalthlamuana replaced injured Keegan Pereira in the left-back position.
The game started on a slow pace as both teams took a safety-first approach. In the first 30 minutes of the match, none of the teams could create genuine goal scoring chances.
Temper rose as the match crossed the half-hour mark. ATL left-back Sena Ralte slid in with an ugly challenge on Nikhil Kadam which prompted the referee to bring out the player's second yellow card, reducing ATK to 10 men.
In the 35th minute, NorthEast’s star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche missed an easy chance to put his team in front.
Ogbeche and Federico Gallego exchanged a one-two near the penalty box before Ogbeche passed the ball to Redeem Tlang on the right flank. Tlang sent a low cross into the box but the Nigerian forward failed to convert.
Schattorie changed the team’s formation in the second half as NorthEast United shifted to a 3-5-2 formation. Defensive midfielder Jose Leudo moved back and operated as a central defender.
The visitors dominated proceedings during the first 20 minutes of the second half as Coppell’s men opted to protect their goal net. ATK came close to breaking the deadlock
NorthEast United’s persistence in the attacking third finally paid off when Rowllin headed the winning goal from Gallego’s corner in the 89th minute.
It was heartbreaking for Steve Coppell’s men who fought hard despite being a man down for 60 minutes. ATK are now placed at the bottom in the league table after back-to-back defeats.