NorthEast beats Dynamos, stays in play-off hunt

Delhi Dynamos pulled one back in the added-time of the second half but that was not enough to neutralise NorthEast’s lead.

Alfaro of NorthEast United FC in action against Delhi Dynams.   -  Special Arrangement

NorthEast United FC worked up the right antidote for the famed attack of Delhi Dynamos firing home two second half goals to derail one of the most consistent outfits of the tournament by a 2-1 margin and keep alive its chances of realising its first play-off qualification in the Indian Super League.


The match at the Indira Gandhi Stadium here saw a battle of attrition where the host put a resolute opposition to the flair of the visitor’s offensive before turning tide with some effective combination-play in the second half. Delhi Dynamos pulled one back in the added-time of the second half but that was not enough to neutralise NorthEast’s lead.

Seityasen Singh, the promising midfielder who is one of the best Indian performers in NorthEast, turned the man of the moment creating a brilliant goal that game the host the lead early in the second half. Ivory Coast midfielder Romaric scored the insurance goal as NorthEast picked up its fourth win at home to tally 18 points from 13 matches. Delhi Dynamos, which pulled one back through its Brazilian striker Marcelinho, continued in the second position of the standings with 20 points from 13 matches. NorthEast now has to beat Kerala Blasters FC travelling to the latter’s home on Sunday.

The match warmed up to an intense first half where Dynamos controlled the possession of the ball but the host gave a good fight-back later in the action. The visitor looked fitter and more organised than the host and could well have earned the lead in the third minute had not its Ghanaian striker Richard Gadze missed the mark from top of the box. Gadze was kept active in the attacking-third by the Dynamos captain and the French World Cupper Florent Malouda. Gadze almost got it home reaching a lob from Malouda in the 35th minute but the NorthEast goalkeeper T.P. Rehenesh foiled the bid charging in for a fine save.

NorthEast, which was initially jolted by the injury to its Argentine striker Nicolas Velez, clawed back into the game midway through the first half. Velez, who limped off clutching his left thigh in the 10th minute, was replaced by Japanese forward Rober Cullen as the host tried to regroup. Realising that only attack could offset a relentless offensive of the famed Dynamos attack. NorthEast had two good chances in the 18th and 37th minutes but the Delhi goalkeeper Antonio Doblas saved the situation on each occasion blocking the efforts from Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro and Seityasen Singh.

NorthEast emerged a more organised side in the second half and realised its efforts of finding the break at the hour mark when Seityasen finished a brilliant solo effort. Picking up a long floater from the captain Didier Zokora, the nippy NorthEast winger beat his marker Souvik Chakrabarti with a sharp sprint before sneaking the ball into the goal through the wrong side of Doblas.

Knowing the ability of the Dynamos, NorthEast continued the attack route and the found the second goal in the 71st minute when Romaric latched on to a fine through pass from Cullen and finished past an onrushing Doblas with an angular left-footer.

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