GUWAHATI, March 7 - Making their debut in the play-offs, NorthEast United FC didn�t disappoint their home crowd as they secured a hard earned 2-1 victory against Bengaluru FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Sarusajai here today.
Despite having secured an early lead through Redeem Tlang, NorthEast United failed to hold on to it as Xisco Hernandez scored the equaliser in the 82nd minute. However, late drama unfolded with the hosts being awarded a penalty in the additional minutes of the match which was well converted by Juan Mascia to send the crowd into frenzy.
It didn�t take much long for the hosts to take the lead as Redeem found the back of the net in the 20th minute. Bartholomew Ogbeche passing it to an unmarked Redeem, saw the latter side stepping Nishu Kumar before curling the ball past a shocked Gurpreet Singh Sandhu on the far side of the net.
In search of an equaliser, Dimas Delgado went for a powerful low strike with his left foot from range which forced NorthEast United custodian Pawan Kumar to make a save. With Miku following up, the goalie fumbled twice before Rowlin Borges cleared it out in the 24th minute.
The Highlanders came close to doubling their lead with Federico Gallego attempting from around 22 yards out but his grounded shot went inches wide off the post.
Federico Gallego won the ball in midfield and before dashing towards goal. His chip over the defence found Juan Mascia who was pressurised by a defender but still managed to get a shot on goal. The effort though was a tame one and it was easily saved in the 70th minute.
Bengaluru FC equalised through substitute Hernandez in the 82nd minute. Having received the ball from Sunil Chhetri, Hernandez�s tap was enough to secure the important away goal.
Mascia made no mistake to ensure victory as he blasted it into the back of the net, leaving the keeper with no chance in the additional minutes.