ISL 2020-21, NEUFC vs SCEB talking points: Meetei stars, Fowler's high-risk football

ISL 2020: Here are the talking points from NorthEast United FC's 2-0 win over SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League.

Ninthoinganba Meetei put in a strong performance both in attack and defence.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

NorthEast United continued its unbeaten run in the Indian Super League (ISL) after a 2-0 win over SC East Bengal to move second on the points table.

A Surchandra Singh own goal and Rochharzela goal condemned East Bengal to its third successive defeat.

Here are the talking points from the game.


High risk, low rewards

Robbie Fowler has set his team up to play a high-risk, passing football from the back but it has seen his team being undone at the back in three straight games. With full-backs pushing high up the pitch to provide attacking support, East Bengal runs the risk of exposing itself down the flanks on counter-attacks. ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC and NEUFC all found space down the wings from which they profited.

On Saturday, NEUFC winger Ninthoinganba Meetei's pace and skill troubled East Bengal down its left channel. In fact, both the goals it conceded came down that side.

Meetei, a star in the making

Meetei has had a tangible impact to this NEUFC side this season despite not yet registering a single goal or assist. The 19-year-old has impressed with his quick feet down the right flank and adds value to the team's style of play with his defensive workrate.

He created two chances, which required timely interceptions from Sehnaj Singh, and executed five successful tackles and four interceptions.

His coach Gerard Nus heaped praise on the youngster at the end of the game. "Ninthoi is a player who represents the future of India. He is a great example of a player who is good in attack and is improving defensively as well. He is an amazing player,” he said.

Maghoma was fouled inside the NEUFC box by Mehta. - ISL/Sportzpics


Spotlight on refereeing, again

East Bengal could argue that its dominance in the first twenty minutes should have been rewarded with a penalty. Referee Santhosh Kumar turned down the appeals when Jaques Maghoma was brought down by Ashutosh Mehta's trailing leg in the 19th minute. Later in the second half, Anthony Pilkington's shot at goal from close range struck the arm of Mashoor Shereef, which the match official failed to spot.

Fowler criticised the officiating in the post-match press conference, saying "We know that the referees have a hard job to do. But when you talk about some of the decisions today, it can't happen. You're talking about professional football. Some decisions were really amateur. These can't keep happening because we're going to have people talking about the league for all the wrong reasons. I rest my case."

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