Seiminlen Doungel scored NorthEast United’s hat-trick this season in their dominant 3-1 defeat of Chennaiyin FC on Friday at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
This was NorthEast’s second victory out of three matches played under former Chelsea boss Avram Grant, who was appointed Technical Advisor and stand-in coach after the Highlanders dismissed head coach Joao de Deus earlier this month.
The side still have a long journey ahead but it was a great turn around for the team who were struggling to find goals under de Deus.
“This win was really important. This was the first game of the second round and we were facing the table toppers so it was never easy. It’s good to start with a win but more than that I am happy with the performance. The player showed good spirit, they played an intelligent game. We could have scored more,” Grant said.
Grant went on to reveal how he changed the approach of the side, who were struggling to find goals under former coach Joao De Deus.
“I always want my team to play attacking football. In the first leg, the problem was that the team was not scoring. We practised hard and we spoke about the mental side of the team. They wanted to change. They are working hard,” he said.
The former Bengaluru FC forward scored in the 42nd, 46th and 68th minute of the game and in doing so became the first Indian player to score a hat-trick in the Indian Super League this edition.
Anirudh Thapa pulled one back for Chennaiyin in the 79th minute but by then the match had tilted heavily in favour of the Northeastern side.
Despite the win, NorthEast remain in 9th spot of the league table with 10 points from 10 matches.
Chennaiyin remain in 2nd spot with 20 points from 11 matches.