In yet another day of exciting footballing action in the Indian Super League, Bengaluru and NorthEast United, both unbeaten in the league, played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Fatorda Stadium. Rochharzela’s shot on goal deflected of Luis Machado and gave the highlanders the lead as early as the 4th minute. NorthEast’s opening goal was cancelled out by Juanan when Rahul Bheke’s long throw-in fell kindly for the central defender and his shot found the back of the net.
Bengaluru had chances to snatch the lead in the first half, Ashique’s surging run down the left and shot on goal was parried away by Gurmeet and Khabra squandered a golden opportunity when Ashique’s ball from the left found him but his shot was wide of the target. Chhetri had a couple of opportunities but he too failed to hit the target. Early in the second half, Appiah’s header on goal prompted Gurpreet to make a save. Opseth too had a brilliant opportunity to put the Blues ahead but his shot on goal was straight at Gurmeet. Udanta did eventually break the deadlock, breaking his 13 months goal drought but Machado once again turned saviour for the Highlanders, as he was quick to react to Juanan’s mistimed tackle and placed a controlled finish past Gurpreet into the goal.
Let us take a look how both sets of players fared in our ratings
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu 7.5
Gurpreet did concede 2 goals on the night but he also made some crucial saves for his side. His reflex action save in keeping out Appiah’s header 5 minutes into the second half was exceptional.
Harmanjot Khabra 7
Khabra had an okay day in the office but he should have got his name on to the score sheet. His was at the end of Ashique’s cut-back midway into the first half but his effort on goal missed its mark.
Rahul Bheke 7
Rahul Bheke and his long throw into the box were instrumental in Bengaluru’s equaliser. He did create problems with his long throws but a lot more was expected of him defensively.
Juanan was the quickest to react to Bheke’s throw in that the Highlanders defence couldn’t deal with and got his side level. While his goal in the first half got Bengaluru level, his mistake in the second allowed Machado through on goal and the Portuguese got NorthEast level.
Ashique Kuruniyan 7.5
Ashique and his runs down both the flanks was a constant thorn in the Highlanders defence. He would feel hard done by not being able to score a goal or register an assist.
Erik Paartalu 7.5
The Aussie had yet another typical game where he went about his duties as a defensive midfielder and provided ample protection to his defenders.
Dimas Delgado 7
Dimas was all over the pitch, disrupting NorthEast forays into the Bengaluru half along with darting runs into opposition territory. He would have loved to contribute more to the game but had very little to show for his efforts.
Suresh Wangjam 7.5
Suresh was awarded with the Man of the Match award against Chennaiyin and a whole lot more was expected of him but the Manipuri didn’t have best of days and had to replaced in the second half
Cleiton Silva 7
Silva too had a forgetful game was not able to create much impact or stand out. He was taken off after Bengaluru took the lead in a tactical move to consolidate the defence.
Deshorn Brown 6.5
The Jamaican has played 4 games and 165 minutes of football in the ISL and is yet to score a goal or record an assist. He was almost missing entirely in the first half and was taken off at half time.
Sunil Chhetri 7.5
India’s and Bengaluru’s captain fantastic was at the end of a couple of half-chances in the first half but he failed to hit the target on both occasions. His header across goal around the 70th minute led to Udanta’s goal and he did have the opportunity to win the game towards the end but his free-kick was inches off target.
Udanta Singh 8
Kristian Ospeth 7
Thongkhosiem Haokip 6.5
Fran Gonzalez 6.5
NorthEast United FC
Gurmeet Singh 7.5
Gurmeet had a decent outing under the crossbar. While he could have done better to keep Udanta’s effort from going in, he was the busier of the two goalkeepers and pulled off some very good saves to keep his side into the game.
Ashutosh Mehta 7.5
Ashutosh had yet another impressive outing in the Highlanders defence and looked solid throughout the game. His overlapping runs down the right were missed today, which he sacrificed for a better all-around defensive performance.
Benjamin Lambot 7.5
Lambot was an immense presence in defence against SC East Bengal that earned him a Man of the Match award and had yet another good game in Fatorda. He would have loved to have managed another clean sheet but will be definitely happy with a point
Dylan Fox 7
Dylan Fox had a decent game but was directly responsible for Bengaluru’s second goal. Fox turned off for a minute and his sloppiness cost his side dearly as Udanta capitalised on the Aussies lack of concentration to score a goal after 407 days. Machado’s brilliance on the other end bailed Fox out.
Gurjinder Kumar 7
Gurjinder too had an okay game in a back four which operated also as a back 3 to fit Nus’ tactics. A more solid defensive display is expected out of the 30-year-old.
Khassa Camara 7.5
Camara has been irreplaceable in the heart of the Highlanders midfield operating as a deep-lying midfielder. His calmness with the ball at his feet was yet again on display and his contribution in breaking up oppositions play was pivotal to NorthEast’s plan.
Lalrempuia Fanai 7
Partnering Camara in the midfield meant the creative responsibilities feel on Fanai. He did give a competent performance but left the fans wanting for more.
Suhair VP 7.5
The man from Kerala was a constant nuisance for the Bengaluru defence. His surging runs down the flanks and crosses into the box did create concerns for Gurpreet and the Bengaluru defenders.
The Mizo winger did create problems for the Blues. His cutbacks and crosses into the box were hard to deal with. He cut in from the right and set free a shot on goal which deflected of Machado and caught Gurpreet flat-footed.
Kwesi Appiah 7.5
The former Crystal Palace striker was a constant threat for the Bengaluru defence and was the target man of everything NorthEast created. The Ghanian was unlucky not get his name on the scoresheet as Gurpreet’s brilliance denied him of a goal on the night.
Luis Machado 9
The Portuguese had one of the games which he will remember fondly. While he was lucky to get his name on the score sheet for the first goal, his second had nothing to do with luck but everything with footballing brilliance. A brilliant run in behind Juanan, brilliant ball control and a calm and composed finish past a charging Gurpreet.