NorthEast United East Bengal ISL Kewsi AppiahISL

NorthEast United 2-0 East Bengal: Solid Highlanders register convincing victory

An own-goal decided the fate of East Bengal's clash against NorthEast United at the Tilak Maidan on Saturday. 

Surchandra Singh got the last touch off a strike from Idrissa Sylla in the 33rd minute that found the net and it helped the Highlanders secure their second win of the season. 

Gerard Nus made five changes to the NorthEast United lineup that managed a 1-1 draw against FC Goa in their last match. Gurmeet Singh, Ashutosh Mehta, Mashoor Shereef, Kwesi Appiah and Ninthoingamba Meetei replaced Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Provat Lakra, Dylan Fox, Fanai Larempuia and Britto PM.

Robbie Fowler, on the other hand, made just one change as he brought in Sehnaj Singh in place of skipper Danny Fox who had picked up an injury against Mumbai City.

East Bengal were in control of the game right from the off and were looking hungry to pick up an early goal. They could have won a penalty in the 20th minute when Ashutosh Mehta nudged Jacques Maghoma inside the box with his knee but the referee chose not to award the spot-kick to the Red and Golds.

NorthEast United East Bengal ISL Kewsi AppiahISL

The Kolkata-based club conceded the first goal in the 33rd minute in comical fashion. Idrissa Sylla flicked the ball in the air with his head towards Kwesi Appiah on the right flank who beat Mohammed Irshad and crossed into the box. Scott Neville failed to clear the ball and it ricocheted off Surchandra's knees and went in.

East Bengal showed more intent than NorthEast United in the first half and created more chances but were not lethal in the attacking third.

In a bid to turn things around, Fowler introduced CK Vineeth in the second half in place of Balwant Singh upfront. Nus, on the other end, introduced Provat Lakra in place of Ashutosh Mehta who looked vulnerable at the back in the first half.

The Highlanders were more positive in their approach compared to the first half and created quite a few chances to increase their lead. East Bengal too raided the NorthEast goal time and again but Belgian defender Benjamin Lambot stood firm and dealt with every single cross that came in.

NorthEast sealed the fate of the match in the 91st minute from a counter-attack. Suhair ran down the right flank and squared the ball for Roccharzela inside the box and the winger converted a simple tap in confirm three points for his side.

Gerard Nus' side climbs up to the second position on the league table while winless East Bengal continue to languish at the bottom.