ISL 2018: NorthEast United FC seals last-gasp 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters

NorthEast United FC scored two goals in stoppage time to register a 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League on Friday.

NorthEast United FC players celebrate during their 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League clash on Friday.   -  ISL MEDIA

Juan Mascia fired a fantastic goal in the dying moments of injury-time to help NorthEast United FC script a spectacular 2-1 win over visiting Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League clash here at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Friday.

Mascia came on as a 79th minute substitute as the host made a desperate bid to equalise against Blasters, which rode on Matej Poplatnik's strike to remain in the lead until the second minute of added time.

NorthEast United FC's Juan Mascia celebrates after scoring the winner against Kerala Blasters on Friday.   -  ISL MEDIA

 

A defensive error from Blasters central defender Sandesh Jhingan, who brought down Mascia inside own box, gave the host a penalty in the second minute of added time, which Bartholomew Ogbeche converted to restore parity. Mascia then produced a classy finish with a rasping right-footer three minutes later to secure the win for the host.

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The spectacular comeback helped NorthEast United end its winless run at home while sailing to the third position in the standings with 14 points from seven matches. Blasters remain in the bottom half on seven points from eight games.

The home side controlled the game in the first half but failed to score. Ogbeche had the first chance in the 10th minute but his header was saved by Blasters goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. The goal remained elusive again in the 22nd minute when Mislav Komorski headed Lalthathanga’s cross well off-target. Komorski had another chance in the 25th minute but his shot this time went off Blasters defender Nikola Krcmarevic, who puts his body on the line of the shot.

NorthEast United FC's Bartholomew Ogbeche in action against Kerala Blasters on Friday.   -  ISL MEDIA



The visitor could taken the lead in the 37th minute when a diagonal pass from Krcmarevic found Halicharan Narzary unmarked in the striking zone. The latter went past his marker and beat the onrushing NEUFC goalkeeper Pawan Kumar but his attempt came off the upright.

The Blasters tried to attack more after the break and altered to a more offensive formation by introducing the second forward in C.K. Vineeth. Making repeated forays in the NEUFC territory, the visitor finally got the lead in the 73rd minute when Poplatnik found the NEUFC net with a nicely flicked header on substitute M. Zakeer’s corner.

Just as the visitor appeared to be ending its prolonged winless run, the host made the turnaround to steal all three points on offering.