East Bengal broke its winless run against NorthEast United in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) with a comfortable 3-1 victory at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
A first-half goal from Cleiton Silva (11’), and second-half strikes from Charis Kyriakou (53’) and Jordan O’Doherty (84’) ensured the three points for East Bengal FC, before Matt Doherty’s consolation goal (90+2’) opened NorthEast United’s goal account for the season.
Stephen Constantine made four changes to the East Bengal lineup that lost 2-1 to FC Goa. In the opposite dugout, Marco Balbul, who had now served his one-match suspension, had made one change to the lineup since the 3-0 loss to Hyderabad FC by bringing Rochharzela into the starting XI.
It took a while for the two teams to find their rhythm with the game’s first real chance coming in the 10th minute when Cleiton Silva smashed a volley from range at NorthEast United’s goal, but Silva didn’t have to wait long to get his goal.
East Bengal took the lead a minute later after some diligent work from Mahesh Naorem Singh. NorthEast United’s Mohamed Irshad got caught on the ball during the team’s build-up, which gave Mahesh Noarem Singh an opportunity to pinch it from the full-back before laying it to the open Silva, who made no mistake with his finish.
Silva played in a slightly deeper role just behind the forward, and found joy a couple of times in this freer role, taking a few uncosted long shots throughout the half.
NorthEast United had most of the possession in the first half but was struggling to create any real chances. Balbul decided to take some action early by making two changes in the 31st minute, bringing Emil Benny and Aaron Evans on for Romain Philippoteaux and Mohamed Irshad.
It looked like the Highlanders were going to end the half without any shots on target but a speculative effort from Emil Benny in the 45th minute led to a rebound that Matt Derbyshire should have finished. East Bengal FC took a 1-0 lead into half-time.
East Bengal started the second half with real zest. It went up 2-0 eight minutes into the second half thanks to some good work from Suhair Vadakkepeedika on the right wing, who set up an onrushing Charis Kyriakou for a bending strike from the edge of the box.
East Bengal killed the game in the 84th minute thanks to a quick transition, with Mobashir Rahman setting up Jordan O’Doherty, who finished the chance with aplomb.
NorthEast United finally opened its goal account for the season two minutes into second-half stoppage time. It was the combination of Benny and Derbyshire again, with Derbyshire scoring a near-post header from an inch-perfect corner.
East Bengal facels ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata Derby on 29th October at the Salt Lake Stadium, whereas NorthEast United will travel to the JRD Tata Sports Complex, to play Jamshedpur FC on 30th October.