Guwahati, Jan 19 (IANS) Seiminlen Doungel became the first Indian footballer to score a hat-trick in the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL) as NorthEast United FC stunned Chennaiyin FC 3-1 here on Friday.
Doungel netted in the 42nd, 46th and 68th minutes as the hosts registered their third win in 10 matches. They remained second in the table with 10 points – three ahead of Delhi Dynamos, whereas Chennaiyin were static at the second spot with 20 points.
NE United had scored just four goals in their nine matches prior to this clash against Chennaiyin. There was urgency but no direction to the home team’s attack and most moves fizzled out before reaching the danger zone.
Chennaiyin too were not in their elements, although there were a couple of half-chances at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
The home team, though, was rewarded for their efforts in the 42nd minute as Doungel made the first attempt on goal count. A ball just outside the box from Reagan Singh saw Doungel chest it back to Cezario. The striker weaved his way past two markers and fired a shot which goalkeeper Karanjit Singh didn’t collect cleanly and Doungel slotted it home from close range.
Only 19 seconds into the start of second-half, Doungel pounced on a through ball from Danilo Lopes to finish it past the onrushing goalkeeper as the hosts got to 2-0 lead.
Doungel completed his hat-trick in the 68th minute when he gave finishing touches to a square pass from Holicharan Narzary.
The visitors, stunned by the three goals, looked desperate. Anirudh Thapa pulled a goal back in the 79th minute with a brilliant volley. But the goal came very late to rejuvenate the former champions.