NorthEast United played a 1-1 draw in their final league game of the season against fellow strugglers SC East Bengal in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Monday.
Goals from Marco Sahanek and Antonio Perosevic managed to split the points either way as Khalid Jamil’s men ended the season with only three wins. As for SC East Bengal, their winless run extended to seven matches.
Marco Sahanek (45+1′) scored his first goal for NEUFC to give them the lead in the first half but the equaliser came through Antonio Perosevic (55′ P) who scored from a precise penalty.
Two good chances fell East Bengal’s way in the early stages with Lalrinliana Hnamte making the goalkeeper pull off a good save and Mahesh Naorem Singh hitting the crossbar from long-range. NEUFC survived another scare after the half-hour mark as a volley by Antonio Perosevic missed the target by a whisker.
However, it was the Highlanders that took the lead just a minute before the half-time whistle. A header from Deshorn Brown hit the left post and fell kindly to Marco Sahanek who made no mistake and buried his left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner. Thanks to that goal, NEUFC went into the break with their noses in front.
The second half did not begin according to plan for Khalid Jamil and co as Patrick Flottmann’s push on Fran Sota during an aerial battle was deemed as a foul in the box, leading to a penalty. Perosevic scored the equaliser from the penalty spot, after sending Mirshad Michu the wrong way.
Marcelinho came off the bench for NEUFC to inject some energy in the final third and combined with Suhair but the latter’s volley was expertly punched away by Sankar Roy in goal. Four minutes were added for stoppages but neither team had the cutting edge to score the winner in the end. With nothing to separate the teams, the game ended in a draw, much to the disappointment of both sets of players.
SC East Bengal will pull the curtains on their ISL season by playing Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Saturday while No’thEast United’s campaign has come to an end.