NorthEast United FC bagged their first victory of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19, with a 1-0 defeat of Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Thursday.
The loss was ATK’s 2nd of their opening games, both at their home stadium, whilst the victory saw NorthEast move to the top of the ladder after drawing in their previous match with Goa.
The game started with neither team dominating the early phases. The home team were down to 10 men in the 31st minute after Sena Ralte was shown his second yellow card for a cynical challenge on Nikhil Kadam.
NorthEast took advantage of this situation creating their first real chance a few minutes later when Redeem Tlang delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal from the right flank. Ogbeche was on hand to meet the cross, but some inspiring defending from John Johnson ensured the score remained intact.
A late strike and a maiden league goal from Rowllin Borges, who rose highest to connect perfectly to Gallego’s corner ball, nestling it into the far corner, was the only goal of the game.
The win delighted Dutch head coach Eelco Schattorie who said in the post match press conference it was a big improvement from the start of last season.
“NorthEast took a long time to gather four points last season and we did that in two games. Big compliments to my players, regarding wanting to work together. If I look at the game itself, I like to play attacking football and that means I like to dominate,” he said.
“Taking into consideration we had only two days to recover from the last game, we still weren’t on the fitness levels that we should be, but that is because of the pre-season. I was a bit frustrated with the way we played because I think, we were focusing too much on going forward rather than circulating. But to get away with three points is fantastic.”