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North East United, Chennaiyin FC share the spoils at the Marina Arena

The win takes North East to 4th place, Chennaiyin remain on second one point behind toppers Kolkata.

Written by Durgesh Haridas | Chennai |
Updated: November 8, 2014 11:10:33 pm
NE-CH-ISL-L Len swivels around Bernard Mendy to score the equaliser for North East. (Source: ISL)

Chennaiyin FC played host to North East United FC at the Marina Arena in Chennai. The home team made one change from the last game- Indian striker preferred over Haitian Maurice. The visitors had three changes to their line up- Len, Milan and Keene preferred over Bo, Adinga and Durga Boro. North East were coming on the back of a 0-1 loss to Pune City FC and looked sharp right from the word go.


The first 20 mins was an even show of some intense positive football from both teams, in attack and defence the sides matched each other move-for-move.  North East were looking sharp in attack and had a few well orchestrated moves via Keene and Koke but the Chennayin back two of Mendy and Silvestre stood up to the challenge.

Chennaiyin’s Indian central midfielders Denson Devdas and Harmanjot Khabra looked solid. Marco Materazzi sat deep in the midfield just ahead of the back four. Kodwani Mtonga was doing a brilliant job marking Elano while the experienced Miguel Garcia and Joan Capdevilla kept the pacy duo of Mendoza and Jeje at bay.

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Elano looked a little off colour in the first quarter and his crosses and through balls failed to find their intended target but the Brazilian showed his class by heading the home team ahead in the 24th minute. Denson fed him with a pin point cross after some good spread of play from Marco Materazzi.

The French duo of Bernard Mendy and Mikael Silvestre showed their class at the heart of the Chennaiyin defence combining well to deny the ever attacking North East some clear chances on goal.

James Keene looked ever so energetic winning balls in midfield and in the opposition half, the former Portsmouth player was proving to be a menace for the Materazzi and Khabra in midfield.

Some sloppy defending from the Chennai defence and hesitation to clear the ball saw Len slot in an awesome volley to draw level after 37 minutes. Chennai had a few good counter attacking moves  in the remainder  of the half but they were well cut out by the North East defence. Going into half time the teams were pretty much even on all counts but Chennai had more chances on goal and must have felt that they could have made something out of them.


There was no loss in intensity or intent on resumption, Dhana Singh almost gave away penalty when he brought down Milan close to the 30 yard box but the foul was just outside the area. Felipe’s free-kick had the power and the curl but just didn’t dip enough to find the back of the net.

The two teams didn’t slow down and the action was almost like a basketball match- end to end.  North East’s goal keeper T Rehenesh pulled out a brilliant save in the 56th minute to deny Elano a second goal after the Brazilian broke free and let fly a fierce right footer.

Chennai made all there substitutions within an 8 minute span. Both Jeje Lalpeklhua and Stiven Mendoza came off for Jean Eudes Maurice and Balwant Singh while Materazzi gave way for Djordjic. Balwant almost made an immediate impact as he was fouled in the penalty area by keeper Rehenesh. Though Balwant seemed to have beaten the North East custodian to the ball, to everyone’s amazement the referee awarded a free kick to the visitors, something that didn’t go down well with home team players and fans.

Some good spread of play from Khabra and Denson saw Elano score his 8th goal of the ISL. Blumer beat two North East defenders before placing the ball in the bottom left corner of the net past golden glove holder Rehenesh.

North East responded well by using the flanks well and their persistence paid off in the 85th minute. Again some misjudgement from the Chennai defence saw Gouramangi Singh trip over Bernard Mendy, the ball fell to the unmarked Koke who struck a fabulous half volley into the roof of the net to silence the home fans.

There were some tense moments in the game where Chennai’s Elano and North East’s Khongjee were shown yellow cards for some pushing and shoving following some verbal exchanges.

Chennaiyin FC would feel that they let three points  slip away as they had 14 attacking shots and 8 shots on goal as compared to 6 and 4 from North East. The visitors though enjoyed marginally better possession than the home side. Another important take away from the game was the fact that North East didn’t give away any free kicks near their penalty box. Knowing how lethal Elano is from set pieces, the visitors surely did their homework.

The win takes North East to 4th place on the table, Chennayin however, remain on second one point behind toppers Kolkata.

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