ISL: NEUFC hold East Bengal to a thrilling draw

Action between NorthEast United (white) and East Bengal. Photo: ISL

Kolkata: Bottom-placed NorthEast United FC put up a much-improved show and gave East Bengal a run for their money but no team could score a winner to settle for a hard-fought 3-3 draw in the Indian Super League here on Wednesday.

East Bengal were twice in the lead with captain Cleiton Silva striking a brace (10th and 64th minute penalty), while Jake Jervis struck a solitary goal (45th).

But the home team could not withstand a sustained attack from the Highlanders, who struck through Parthib Gogoi (30th), Jithin MS (32nd) and Imran Khan (85th).

In an end-to-end first half, both the teams were locked two-all with Northeast United striking two goals in space of two minutes through Gogoi and Jithin.

The homeside absorbed the early pressure and their talismanic skipper Silva gave them the lead in the 10th minute with a header.

NEUFC were rewarded for their constant efforts right on the half-hour mark when Gogoi struck a belter of a goal from just outside the box to make it one-all.

Before East Bengal settled down, NEUFC broke away when Romain Philippoteaux set it up for an on-rushing Jithin from the left-flank to make it 2-1.

There was more in store in the first half as Jervis scored an absolute stunning overhead kick in added time to get the hosts back on level terms (2-2).

Cleiton then turned it around for EBFC after he was brought down by Alex Saji. Cleiton himself stepped up to take the spot-kick and made it 3-2.

Just when it seemed that NEUFC were running out of time, Khan slotted it home from close range to bring the game back on level terms.

NEUFC came close on a couple of occasions to score the winner but they were unable to find the back of the net.

EBFC will be somewhat disappointed for not being to collect all three points from this fixture and they will now shift their focus to their next game against Chennaiyin FC.

On the other hand, NEUFC will be content with the one point and now host Odisha FC in their next game.

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