ISL 2020-21 highlights: NorthEast United FC beats SC East Bengal 2-0

An own goal and another late one from Rochharzela helped NorthEast United FC defeat SC East Bengal 2-0 in a 2020-21 ISL match in Goa.

NorthEast United FC players celebrate the goal against SC East Bengal on Saturday.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

This is Sportstar's blog/highlights of the 2020-21 ISL match between NorthEast United FC and SC East Bengal in Goa.

That's it for today. Thanks for tuning in!

The undefeated NorthEast United side moves to the second spot in the 2020-21 Indian Super League standings with this 2-0 victory. Meanwhile, East Bengal is still rooted to the bottom with zero points and zero goals scored.

MATCH REPORT | ISL 2020-21: Unbeaten NorthEast moves second with win over East Bengal

NorthEast United skipper Benjamin Lambot wins the 'Player of the Match' award, while his teammate and forward V. P. Suhair takes home the 'Winning Pass of the Match' honour.

SCEB coach Robbie Fowler: We definitely deserved more from this game. If not a win, at least a draw. We deserved two penalties. It's so frustrating. We should have won a penalty in one of the previous games too. I'm not saying we depend only on these decisions but imagine us scoring those. The scenario of the game would have changed. I know the referees have a hard job in the middle. But the consistency of the bad decisions is too hard to digest. Despite that, we definitely need to improve as a team.

NEUFC coach Gerard Nus: I'm extremely happy with the result. The players gave their everything out there. We have a very young squad, which is always eager to keep learning. Players like Ninthoinganba Meetei have been phenomenal. I think all five substitutions tonight came out well too. We are still unbeaten and it feels really good. We really want to reach the top.

Comments from both the camps coming up next.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

AND IT'S FULL-TIME!!!

90+4' FIVE MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME WERE ADDED ON AT THE END OF THE SECOND HALF! C. K. Vineeth tries to go for a backheel pass in an attempt to find an East Bengal teammate inside the box. CLEARANCE! However, NorthEast skipper Benjamin Lambot makes yet another crucial block.

90+1' GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!! NORTHEAST UNITED 2 - 0 EAST BENGAL!!! ROCHHARZELA SCORES!!!! It was always going to be difficult for East Bengal with numbers forward. NEUFC won the ball, regained possession and began a counter-attack. V. P. Suhair rushed forward on the right flank and sent in an amazing low cross towards Rochharzela in the middle. The super-sub slotted the ball home to double his side's lead.

88' SUBSTITUTION! Imran Khan comes on for his NorthEast United teammate Lalengmawia. YELLOW CARD! East Bengal's Sehnaj Singh commits a silly tackle to stop a NEUFC transition and goes straight into the referee's book.

85' YELLOW CARD! The East Bengal substitute Eugeneson Lyngdoh takes out NorthEast United's Lalengmawia from behind and goes into the referee's book.

82' CORNER FOR NORTHEAST! Suhair collects the ball in midfield and runs towards the edge of the box. However, his shot his deflected away for a corner. NEUFC wastes another set-piece.

80' NEUFC CHANGE! NorthEast United FC head coach Gerard Nus brings on V. P. Suhair for Idrissa Sylla in the middle. Sylla has done his job for the day.

78' FREE-KICK FOR NORTHEAST UNITED! Jacques Maghoma brings down Ninthoinganba Meetei in midfield. NEUFC makes a mess of the set-piece situation.

76' It's the final cooling break of the match!

75' SUBSTITUTION! Robbie Fowler brings in Eugeneson Lyngdoh for Mohammed Irshad. It's now or never for SC East Bengal.

73' PENALTY DENIED FOR NEUFC NOW!!!! Ninthoinganba Meetei makes a brilliant run down the right wing. He shows great pace to go past Sehnaj Singh who has a hand on his back. Meetei eventually goes down inside the box and that looked like a penalty. But the referee is in no mood to award penalties tonight.

71' WHAT A CHANCE FOR NORTHEAST! East Bengal loses the ball in midfield and Idrissa Sylla colects the ball. He runs forwards with pace and is almost one-on-one with the keeper. However, he had no support and looked a bit tired as he took a shot from long. The ball missed the target.

68' CHANCE FOR EAST BENGAL! Abhishek Ambekar puts in a cross from the left flank. NorthEast defender Benjamin Lambot heads the ball away. The rebound falls to Mohammed Rafique at the edge of the box but his shot is well off target.

66' TWO SUBSTITUTIONS FOR NORTHEAST! Abhishek Ambekar and Mohammed Rafique come on for Narayan Das and Wahengbam Luwang.

64' DOUBLE CHANGE FOR NORTHEAST! Luis Machado and Mashoor Shereef are replaced by Dylan Fox and Rochharzela, respectively, in the middle.

61' ANOTHER SCEB PENALTY DENIED??!!! This isn't as clear as the first one but replays show that there was a handball by a NorthEast player inside the box. Anthony Pilkington made a run towards the box, fired a shot towards goal and there was immense drama following that.

59' FREE-KICK FOR SCEB! Maghoma goes down again. Is he injured now? Fortunately for East Bengal, he's able to continue. NEUFC defender Gurjinder Kumar catches Jacques Maghoma on the ankle.

57' ANOTHER SAVE FROM DEBJIT! Ninthoinganba Meetei plays a pass towards Kwesi Appiah, who is able to shoot the ball on target. However, Debjit makes a comfortable save.

55' NORTHEAST CHANCE! Provat Lakra sends in a long ball towards Idrissa Sylla but SCEB keeper Debjit Majumder sees the danger and comes off his line to catch the ball.

52' CLOSE! East Bengal's Jacques Maghoma has the ball at the edge of the NorthEast box. But he wastes too much time and centre-back Benjamin Lambot is able to regain possession and clear the ball.

50' CHANCE FOR NEUFC! Luis Machado takes a shot from outside the box. It hits his own player and rolls towards Lalengmawia, who takes a shot from just outside the box. But it is a weak one as SCEB keeper Debjit makes an easy save.

47' SUBSTITUTIONS FOR BOTH TEAMS! CK Vineeth replaces Balwant Singh up front for SC East Bengal. Meanwhile, NorthEast United FC manager Gerard Nus has brought on Provat Lakra for Ashutosh Mehta, who was booked in the first half.

THE SECOND HALF IS UNDERWAY!

The East Bengal players will be kicking themselves for missing a host of chances in the opening 45 minutes. A moment of misfortune led to SCEB conceding a goal. NorthEast United will have no complaints about that. 

However, Robbie Fowler's side was denied a penalty on the night, which incensed the entire East Bengal squad. NEUFC, on the other hand, has been targeting Jacques Maghoma all day. Forty-five minutes to go. Stay tuned!

AND IT'S HALF-TIME!!!

45+2' COUPLE OF CORNERS FOR EAST BENGAL! SCEB has looked dangerous during set-piece situations tonight. But the end product hasn't been good enough. The team has won six corners as opposed to NorthEast United's one.

45' TWO MINUTES OF STOPPAGE TIME TO BE ADDED ON AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF. SCEB forward Balwant Singh goes for a header off a cross. VERY CLOSE! Balwant is unable to reach the ball on time.

43' East Bengal clearly had the upper hand in the first 30 minutes of the match. But it's been NorthEast United which has dominated its opponent after the cooling break.

40' CLOSE! NEUFC forward Kwesi Appiah is able to pass the ball to Ninthoinganba Meetei on the right wing. Meetei's cross into the box is headed out by SCEB defender Scott Neville.

37' CHANCE FOR SCEB! Narayan Das gets a chance to cross from the left flank again. It's the big man, Benjamin Lambot again, who heads it out.

33' GOAAAAALLLLLLL!!!! NORTHEAST UNITED 1 - 0 SC EAST BENGAL!! IT'S AN OWN GOAL! Ninthoinganba Meetei intercepts a pass in his own half. He sends the ball to Idrissa Sylla, who finds Kwesi Appiah on the right wing. Appiah sprints forward and sends a cross into the box. The ball hits SCEB defender Surchandra Singh and rolls into his own net.

30' It's time for the drinks break now!

28' THROW-IN FOR EAST BENGAL! Narayan Das receives the ball on the left flank. He crosses it into the box and NorthEast centre-back Lambot is able to kick the ball out.

24' GOOD SAVE! Ninthoinganba Meetei gets the ball on the right flank and runs forward towards the box. He crosses it into the box. But Kwesi Appiah's final shot is saved by NorthEast goalkeeper Gurmeet.

20' PENALTY NOT GIVEN??!!! It's Maghoma again, this time inside the box. Ashutosh Mehta makes contact from behind and the East Bengal player goes down. But the referee waves his hands and Robbie Fowler is losing his calm. Huge let off for NorthEast United.

18' THROW-IN FOR SCEB! Maghoma has been brilliant so far. He's winning set-piece after set-piece for his team. East Bengal looks threatening.

15' FREE-KICK FOR SCEB! Pilkington will take it. He smashes the ball at the wall. The deflection results in another set-piece. CORNER! However, East Bengal messes up this one.

13' FOUL! East Bengal's Maghoma is being targeted by the NorthEast players here. He's brought down by Lalengmawia this time around. But there's no booking.

11' CLOSE! SCEB forward Anthony Pilkington rushes forward with the ball. He evades a few opposition players and attempts a cross to the middle. However, the NEUFC defence is alert and clears the danger.

9' NEUFC CHANCE! Kwesi Appiah makes a good run forward and passes the ball to Ninthoinganba Meetei. Meetei crosses it to Idrissa Sylla inside the box from the right wing. Sylla's header goes off target for a goal kick.

7' East Bengal has started the match extremely well. The side has dominated possession and created a few good chances. Robbie Fowler is chasing his first point in the tournament.

4' FREE-KICK FOR SCEB! Maghoma will take the set-piece. CLOSE! The ball was sent into the penalty box and defender Scott Neville got a slight touch on it as goalkeeper Gurmeet made the save.

2' EARLY YELLOW CARD! NorthEast United FC full-back Ashutosh Mehta puts in a mistimed sliding tackle and SC East Bengal's Jacques Maghoma goes to the ground. The referee books Ashutosh.

7:30 PM: AND THE MATCH BEGINS!

The flip of the coin favours Anthony Pilkington and SCEB will kick from right to left in the first half.

6:30 PM: The team line-ups are out!

NEUFC XI: Gurmeet (GK), Benjamin Lambot, Ashutosh Mehta, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Lalengmawia, Khassa Camara, Luis Machado, Idrissa Sylla, Kwesi Appiah, Ninthoinganba Meetei.

COACH: Gerard Nus.

SCEB XI: Debjit Majumder (GK), Narayan Das, Scott Neville, Mohamed Irshad, Surchandra Singh, Sehnaj Singh, Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, Wahengbam Luwang, Matti Steinmann, Balwant Singh.

COACH: Robbie Fowler.

ISL 2020-21 points table

Follow Sportstar's full coverage (Latest news, Interviews, Features, Points table, Quiz, Videos) of ISL 2020-21 here. Click here

The Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) will mark the return of major league competition in India after the nationwide lockdown to prevent the COVID-19 outbreak was first imposed in March.

The seventh edition of the ISL got underway inside a bio-bubble in Goa on November 20.

The tournament, spanning over four months, will see 11 teams play each other in a league and playoff format across three venues. Following SC East Bengal's inclusion, this season will feature 115 games, up from 95 last season.

MATCH PREVIEW:

‘We will get it right.”

Robbie Fowler has often repeated this phrase in his media interactions since his appointment as SC East Bengal head coach. And he remains unyielding in turning things around by playing football the ‘right way’ when it takes on a resilient NorthEast United FC at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Saturday.

On the pitch, however, results have not gone right for Fowler and East Bengal. An opening game 0-2 defeat to derby rival ATK Mohun Bagan was followed by a 0-3 defeat to Mumbai City FC on Tuesday.

His comment on the quality of his senior Indian players at his disposal hasn’t gone down too well, either, with the Red and Gold faithful. Fowler offered an explanation to clarify, saying, “It was taken out of context. We are trying to play a certain way and we have an intricate way of playing. We have an identity and a philosophy. My players haven’t been coached this way before. So we are trying to implement our ways and get the best out of what we got.”

READ | Robbie Fowler clarifies comment on East Bengal’s Indian players

The task at hand has been further complicated with the injuries to skipper and centre-back Daniel Fox and midfielder Loken Meitei, who are awaiting scan results. Striker Aaron-Amadi Holloway, who is yet to feature this season, will not be available to line-up against NorthEast.

While Fowler’s side had been disadvantaged with its late entry and logistics in the build-up to the season, his opposite number, Gerard Nus, has impressed many with his work so far. Nus’ fiery approach on the touchline has been embodied by his players on the pitch. A come-from-behind draw against Kerala Blasters and a gritty draw against FC Goa showed that the opening day win over Mumbai City wasn’t a flash in the pan.

“We have created a bubble inside a bubble,” said the Spaniard, who is the youngest head coach this season. “We want to take it one game at a time. We have to get the best from the situation. Knowing how short the season is we established a plan from day one of pre-season, even during the quarantine period. Bringing in tactical ideas and built it up from there to have a clear way in how we attack, defend and manage the moments in the game.”

Fowler had spoken of the need to cut out individual errors, particularly in the full-back roles during defensive transitions. NorthEast with Ninthoinganba Meetei and Luis Machado have the pace and skill to exploit East Bengal’s weakness yet again.

THE SQUADS:

NorthEast United: Sanjiban Ghosh, Subhasish Roy, Gurmeet, Nikhil Deka, Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar, Mashoor Shereef, Nabin Rabha, Nim Dorjee, Provat Lakra, Wayne Vaz, Rakesh Pradhan, Federico Gallego, Khassa Camara, Lalengmawia, Imran Khan, Lalrempuia Fanai, Pragyan Gogoi, Rochharzela, Idrissa Sylla, Luis Machado, Kwesi Appiah, Britto PM, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Lalkhawpuimawia, Suhair Vadakkepeedika.

SC East Bengal: Debjit Majumder, Rafique Ali, Mirshad Michu, Sankar Roy, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Gurtej Singh, Narayan Das, Lalramchullova, Abhishek Ambekar, Rana Gharami, Samad Mallick, Mohamed Irshad, Ningthoukhongjam Rohen Singh, Anil Chawan, Novin Gurung, Pritam Singh, Aaron Hammadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Matti Steinman, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Bikash Jairu, Sehnaj Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Metei, Haobam Singh, Milan Singh, Wahengbam Luwang, Mohamed Rafique, Yumnam Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh.

ISL 2020 will be televised live at 7.30 pm IST on Star Sports and live streamed on Disney+Hotstar and Jio TV.