ISL: Seiminlen Doungel hattrick sinks Chennaiyin

Seiminlen Doungel became the first Indian player to score a hat-trick in this edition of the Hero Indian Super League as NorthEast United FC comfortably beat visitor Chennaiyin FC with a 3-1 victory.

Seiminlen Doungel became the first player to score a hattrick for NorthEast United in the history of the ISL.

Seiminlen Doungel became the first Indian player to score a hat-trick in this edition of the Hero Indian Super League as NorthEast United FC comfortably beat visitor Chennaiyin FC with a 3-1 victory at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, on Friday.

NorthEast United had lost 0-3 against Chennaiyin FC in Chennai earlier in its first-leg clash. There is a huge gap between the two teams on the ISL table with Chennaiyin targeting a top spot and NorthEast trying to rescue its campaign.

It seemed a mismatch but Doungel turned the tables on its rival with a hat-trick, the first ever for NorthEast United since inception in 2014.

Match Centre

Doungel scored the opening goal in the 42nd minute to give his team the lead at half-time. In the second session, Doungel struck twice in the 46th and 68th minute to complete his hat-trick. Anirudh Thapa pulled a goal back in the 79th minute but there was no way NorthEast would allow its lead to slip away at home.

The win gives NorthEast United 10 points after 10 matches and keeps its chances of qualifying alive. Chennaiyin FC will retain second position on the points table with 20 points from 11 matches.

NorthEast United had scored just four goals in their nine matches prior to this clash against Chennaiyin FC and it looked like it would draw a blank again. There was urgency but no direction to the home team’s attack and most moves fizzled out before reaching the danger zone.

Chennaiyin FC too was not in its elements, although there were a couple of half-chances.

The home team, though, was rewarded for its efforts in the 42nd minute as Doungel made the first attempt on goal count. A ball just outside the box from Reagan Singh saw Doungel chest it back to Cezario. The striker weaved his way past two markers and fired a shot which goalkeeper Karanjit Singh didn’t collect cleanly and Doungel slotted it home from close range.

Some 19 seconds into the start of second session, NorthEast United and Doungel were celebrating again with their second goal. A through ball from Danilo Lopes saw Doungel get to the end of it and finish it past the onrushing goalkeeper.

Doungel then made it a special night by scoring his hat-trick in the 68th minute when he gave finishing touches to a square pass from Holicharan Narzary.

Chennaiyin FC, unbeaten for five matches, was stunned. Anirudh Thapa pulled a goal back in the 79th minute with a brilliant volley. But nobody was fooled into believing that it could get something out of this game with a late onslaught.