NorthEast United came from 1-3 behind against Chennaiyin FC to win the game 4-3 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai. This game will go down as one of the most thrilling encounters in the history of the Indian Super League. Chennaiyin FC did put in a good attacking show but individual brilliance from Ogbeche and poor defending let them down against Eelco Schattorie’s men.
NorthEast stuck to their 4-2-3-1 formation and same line-up from their last two games while Chennaiyin FC, who played a 4-3-3 formation in the last two games reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation from last season. They dropped Jeje Lalpheklua for Carlos Salom, Isaac and Thoi Singh also made their way into the team for Gregory Nelson and Germanpreet Singh. Inigo Calderon played as a central midfielder while Francis Fernandes operated as a right back.
Chennaiyin FC played a high line of defence and were often caught struggling with the counter-attack.
Chennai’s Perfect Start
Chennaiyin FC started the game well and took the lead in the 4th minute through a corner from Isaac, Rowllin Borges got deceived by Eli Sabia’s jump and ended up heading the ball inside his own net giving the Blue Marines an early lead.
Chennaiyin continued their early dominance as Raphael Augusto played an excellent ball to Isaac who teed up Thoi Singh to put Chennaiyin FC 2-0 up within the first 15 minutes.
NorthEast United found their way back into the game when Karanjit Singh’s poor save from a long shot fell to the feet of Federico Gallego, Eli Sabia did manage to win the ball back but Ogbeche muscled his way through the Chennaiyin FC defence to win the ball back and score their first goal as Chennaiyin’s defence was caught ball watching.
Raphael Augusto’s individual brilliance in the 32nd minute restored Chennaiyin FC’s two-goal advantage. The Brazillian took on several NorthEast defenders and produced an excellent pass to Thoi Singh whose scrappy back heel found its way into the back of the net.
NorthEast United came back into the game three minutes later as Francis Fernandes, who was marking Ogbeche, lost a header and eventually let Ogbeche free on goal.
Francis failed to recover from the challenge and thus Ogbeche was through on goal and scored expertly to give the Highlanders their second goal.
Chennaiyin FC’s high line of defence was always vulnerable to the counter-attack and once again a long ball from the deep found Ogbeche who easily beat his marker Eli Sabia and was through on goal, Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Karanjit made another blunder as he came forward early and was beaten by Ogbeche who put the ball in a free net to equalise for NorthEast United.
The Nigerian forward scored his three goals in a span of 10 minutes and thus his hat-trick was one of the quickest in the history of Indian Super League.
Chennaiyin FC were caught on the counter again and this time Anirudh Thapa failed to notice Rowllin Borges who was coming from a deeper position.
Rowllin eventually managed to get to the ball and Thapa failed in his effort to win the ball as Rowllin Borges perfect shot gave North East United the lead for the first time in the game.
NorthEast United eventually decided to sit back and Chennaiyin FC’s old problems started to return, their attackers continued to struggle and would often lose the ball or end up passing it to a heavily marked Raphael Augusto in the final third. The Brazilian would often try to take on multiple defenders on his own and end up losing the ball.
Chennaiyin FC did manage to put in a few decent attacks after the introduction of Spanish attacker Andrea Orlandi who even managed to create a decent chance for Jeje who couldn’t manage to reach the ball.
The striker would have reached the ball had he went in with his left foot rather than his right.
John Gregory made a bold decision to drop Jeje which eventually worked out as Carlos Salom was a big threat to NorthEast defence. Chennaiyin FC did manage to put in a good attacking show but their defence failed to compliment the attackers which led to the loss.
Chennaiyin also badly missed having a defensive midfielder in their squad. The decision to play Calderon in the role didn’t really work out for the Blue Marines. They have conceded eight goals in their first three games and the defence keeps getting worse every game. This is something you don’t expect from a team which won the league due to their impressive defensive organisation.
Let us not take any credit away from Eelco Schattorie, the Dutchman has got NorthEast off to a flying start this season. His achievement is commendable considering the fact that NorthEast are widely regarded as the team with the smallest budget in the ISL.