The longest unbeaten run, a broken curse (touchwood!) three goals in the first half, and an absolute masterclass performance by the Men in Red summed up our Super Sunday. Undoubtedly, the Best Valentine's day ever for us as we emerged victorious against the Juggernauts.
Khalid Jamil's side had the upper hand in the opening stages of the game as they hit the ground running after a proper earned rest. Luis Magical Machado scored his fifth goal for the Highlanders to put Northeast United 1-0 up at the Tilak Maidan.
The Juggernauts could have equalized in Daniel Lalhimpuia but his shot couldn't test our skipper Subhasish Da. Highlanders had clear attacking intentions and almost scored the second goal. Jacob Tratt's tackle stood out as the difference between Machado and the goal.
King Gallego forced Arshdeep to make a save as he tried his luck from distance. The magician was in his mood once again and displayed his magic as his brilliant pass found Deshorn Brown who made a perfect run behind to slot past Arshdeep's legs.
Gallego added one more assist to his tally as his perfect ball over Odisha's defence found Machado and the Portuguese winger headed it past Arshdeep and it was 3-0 in favour of the Highlanders. Kalinga was thunderstruck! Fede served Brown with goal-scoring opportunities twice but Arshdeep did well to deny him.
Unfortunately, Odisha scored a goal in the dying minutes of the first half when Brad Inman's shot took a deflection from Mashoor, and the scoreline 3-1 at halftime.
The second half saw the Juggernauts playing better and fast football and it was surely a scary second half for all of us and adding on to that was the introduction of Diego Maurício from the bench.
Northeast United could have re-gained their three goal cushion but yet again Arshdeep came to rescue for the visitors as he denied Luis Machado a hat-trick with two back to back saves.
Odisha FC were desperate to find a way back into it but lacked any clear cut chances. Brad Inman's shot went well wide in the 66th minute. The final 10 minutes of the second half saw Odisha change their approach towards the game.
A long free-kick from the right side of the pitch found Steven Taylor but his header bounced back into play off the crossbar and Jerry saw his goal being ruled out in the follow up the referee observed Jacob Tratt's foul on Apuia.
For the first time this season, we were down to 10 men as the Gurjinder Kumar saw his second yellow of the game following a tackle on Onwu. The Bhuvaneshwar based club was looking to exploit their one man advantage and even came close in Jerry but his shot was blocked was Ashu-tough Mehta.
The Juggernauts tried everything to find a way back into the game but their efforts were just not enough as Khalid Jamil and his side secured all three points.
Hero of the Match – Federico Gallego
Fede pulled off his 4th Hero of the Match award and the Uruguayan lynchpin assisted twice while created 5 chances against Odisha FC.
Highlanders, fasten up your seatbelts as this ride is going to be no easy but it's gonna be fun!
Next up is a tough tie against the resilient Chennaiyin! We go again!
Up the Highlanders!
We Walk Through This Together.