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Both teams had a chance to take home three points, but had to share the spoils in the end …
NorthEast United squandered the opportunity to record a victory and send a declaration of intent in the race for the top four after a close encounter against Chennaiyin FC on Thursday.
The game, which Chennaiyin came close to winning, ended in a 3-3 draw with Luis Machado scoring a penalty in stoppage time to save the Highlanders’ blushes, but in hindsight it could prove to be a turning point in the team’s campaign. team.
It was an energetic start for the game, and although Chennaiyin was already out of the playoff race, they really fought and played for their pride. Lallianzuala Chhangte, who finished the game with a double, was his star on the night and his finishing and runs were top-notch and would have left head coach Csaba Laszlo wondering how Chennaiyin kept missing opportunities throughout the season.
NorthEast United, with its eyes on a playoff spot with more than a couple of teams waiting to pounce on any slip, had no plans to sit back and absorb the pressure after Chhangte opened the scoring. Their response was typical of the fight they’ve shown under Khalid Jamil and they turned the tie around in no time. First, Imran Khan found the net from close range with a center from Luis Machado to level the score.
Khalid Jamil missed Federico Gallego and his creative spark in the final third due to a problem, but the midfield remained orderly due to the work pace of Khassa Camara, who was always the first to react to fumbles and launch attacks when such opportunities were present.
Such an attack after a period of pressure from Chennaiyin ended with Khassa Camara finding Deshorn Brown with a long ball over defense. The move came from one extreme to the other in no time and Brown, who easily pushed Enes Sipovic aside with his upper body strength, beat the keeper with a fierce blow to give the Highlanders a 2-1 lead. 1 at halftime.
But as we have always witnessed, Chennaiyin is a team that always represents a threat in attack. So it was the scene for the Machans to make a comeback. Right-back Ashutosh Mehta had a torrid and forgettable outing down the flanks against Chhangte’s pace and skills and downed the winger for a penalty within minutes of the second half. It was also the fault of letting Chhante free inside the area to score the opening goal.
After converting Lanzarote from the penalty spot, Chhangte himself scored his second goal of the night as he passed the goalkeeper with a deflected shot after receiving a pass from Edwin from midfield.
A point is always better than having nothing for a program after full time. Vishal Kaith, who played a brilliant game under the crossbar, fouled Idrissa Sylla and conceded a penalty that Machado stepped up and converted. One point also meant that there are three teams with 27 points, which means that if they all have the same tally at the end of the league stage, Hyderabad and FC Goa will advance to the knockout rounds due to their superiority in the mini-group that It will be considered. A draw is a draw, but the Highlanders may have complicated things.
For Chennaiyin it was another night of disappointment as Csaba Laszlo’s team fell back late and lost points. This was the club’s 10th draw this season out of the 19 games it has played so far.
Chennaiyin’s biggest problem this season was scoring goals as they had only scored 13 goals before the tie against NorthEast United. However, scoring was not a problem for them against the Highlanders, but bad errors at the rear allowed the Highlanders to earn a point.
It’s one of those seasons where nothing goes right for a team despite all their work on the field. Until Thursday’s game, it was Chennaiyin’s attack that disappointed them. But the day the attack was fired, the defense gave way.