Head off to the Highlander who once said, "If we score in our first match, we going to the semi-finals," because what he predicted has finally come true as Coach Khalid and company have booked a play-off spot for the second time in our club's history. And what a way to do it!
We are running out of adjectives on how proud we are as we rally behind the team of bravemen into the semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League.
VP Suhair opened the scoring for us and our gem Apuia scored a wonder goal from distance bamboozling every spectator! Some robust defending from our stalwarts in Gurjinder, Lakra, Benjamin, Fox, Ashutosh, Nim and our very own Tank Khassa Camara saw us edge past the Southerners.
The men in Red started the game on the front foot and Dylan Fox could have scored his first in Northeast United colours but his left-footer went the other way. The Blasters too had a chance early in the first half when Bakary Kone's header went above the goal post.
Seconds after resumption following the drinks break, Khassa Camara played a beautiful ball into the box to Suhair and our number 15 who outmuscled Sandeep and slotted it past the keeper with a cool and calm finish.
Lalengmawia aka Apuia scored our 31st goal of the season is the brightest of fashions. A screamer that the world will always remember and Albino had no answer to the Apuia's long ranger. We went into half-time with a two-goal lead.
The Visitors had a chance in Rahul KP but his effort went well wide. Nim Dorjee, even though not an advocate of pan-masala had KP in his pocket the whole night. Khalid Jamil's men had a ready-made answer in Luis Machado's effort as he brought Albino Gomes into action. Our latest import Deshorn Brown's shot found the crossbar instead of the net and it stayed 2-0 in our favour until the second drinks break.
Kerala were in search of spaces in between our defence but weren't able to spot any as Khalid Jamil's tactics were absolutely spot on. Deshorn made an interesting run into the box and the keeper did catch him in what could have a spot-kick but the Jamaican stood on his feet only to see his effort find the side netting.
The full-time whistle saw Northeast United become the third team to secure a play-off berth, in style. What a night that was! What a scintillating and clinical performance from the men in Red. If there was ever a story of perseverance, this season would surely be on the top in how Khalid's men turned things around and made it to the play-offs!
Hero of the Match? While each and everyone deserved the accolade, but the little boy wonder Lalengmawia would edge it for us for his absolute heroics in the middle of the park.
Our Youngest ever skipper made his presence felt all over the pitch. He made a total of 73 touches with an impressive passing accuracy of 88% and also scored a contender for the 'Goal of the season'.
Up next is the semi-final clash with either ATKMB or Mumbai City FC, and the hills are ready to show their strength against the castles of the coast.
Up The Highlanders!
We Walk Through This Together!