Deshorn Brown 3 Mumbai City 3.
Thus read the scoreline at the end of a thrilling ISL encounter between NorthEast United and the defending champion at Fatorda's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday night.
But for the brilliant hat-trick from the Jamaican striker, the Mumbai men would have gone back to their winning ways, after their stunning loss to Kerala Blasters in the last match. Instead, they had to settle for just one point, which came courtesy goals from Igor Angulo (two) and Bipin Singh.
AS IT HAPPENED | ISL 2021-22: NorthEast United FC vs Mumbai City FC Highlights
Angulo’s second goal had taken them to a 3-1 lead, seven minutes into the second half. They would have fancied full points then hoped to widen the lead at the top of the table. But, Brown, who had given NorthEast the lead much against the run of play, wasn’t done yet.
He couldn’t have made a more spectacular return from injury. His first goal came off a counter-attack. He raced in with great pace to receive the superb long ball from Imran Khan, chested it down and beat the hapless Mumbai goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz.
Just four minutes later, however, Mumbai equalised, as Cassio Gabriel’s ball into the box was set up perfectly for Angulo by Bipin with a square pass.
Another seven minutes later, it was Angulo’s turn to provide the assist, as Bipin made it 2-1 for Mumbai; NorthEast custodian Mirshad Michu should have done better, though.
The second half also saw plenty of end-to-end football. There was great drama too, as Brown brought NorthEast back into the contest.
If his first two goals were more about his speed and power, the third one needed only a deft touch to the shot towards the goal from Imran.