The second game of the Hero Indian Super League kicked-off at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati as North East United hosted Sachin Tendulkar‘s Kerela Blasters. North East United started off with a hard fought 1-0 win with the goal coming from Spaniard Koke.
The first shot of the game came from David Ngaihte, but it was easy take for David James. Though, Kerala started the game positively and enjoyed a lot of possession. North East United pressed the ball really well during the first few minutes of the game. Both teams started well defensively, but a long clearance almost sees Kerala Blasters defender Miguel Garcia head the ball into his own net.
Soon, Iain Hume scored from a lovely ball from Pearson, but the linesman ruled it offside. Penn Orji started the game really well and dominated the ball in the opposition half. Orji created a few chances for Kerala, but none of them resulted in a goal. Around the half hour mark, CS Sabeeth took a well placed shot from outside the box, but Tzorvas made a decent save to keep the score 0-0.
North East United had most of the defending to do in the first 30 minutes of the game. Soon, a smashing shot from Durga Boro of North East United saw David James making a great save. Just before the half time, both teams get a bit desperate to find the back of the net and tried few long range shots. Jamie McAllister got the first yellow card of the game after his elbow catches James Keene. North East United scored the first goal of the game through Koke just before the half-time. David Ngaihte set up the goal for Spaniard Koke to make it 1-0 to North East United. It’s a fullhouse at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium and the crowd go mad as the home team score.
Kerala had a good first half and dominated the game, but North East United scored first. The first chance of the second half fell to Mehtab Hossain, but it was way off target. Kerala kept attacking and this time Iain Hume strike deflected from Avinabo Bag for a corner. At the hour mark, North East United made their first change as Milan Singh replaced Durga Boro. Soon, Kerala also made double changes as Michael Chopra replaced Stephen Pearson and C S Sabeeth was replaced by Saumik Dey after a couple of minutes. The game is a bit physical now and both the teams resort to hard tackles rather than creating chances. North East United goal scorer Koke comes off to a standing ovation by the Guwahati crowd and is replaced by Dong-Hyun Do. Michael Chopra came close to scoring with 15 minutes to go, but Tzorvas did well to keep the score 1-0. With five minutes to go, Iain Hume chip is cleared off the line and a rebound by Michael Chopra was blocked too. Kerala Blasters continued to create chances, but failed to convert any of them and look exhausted during the dying minutes of the games.
Kerala Blasters XI: James, Hengbart, McAllister, Chettri, Singh, Bag, Hossain, Orji (c), Pearson, Hume, Sabeeth
NorthEast United FC XI: Tzorvas, Khongjee, Capdevila, Garcia (c), Gurung, Zodingliana, Felipe, Ngaihte, Keene, Boro, Koke