NorthEast United FC beat Odisha FC 2-1 in their second matchof the Indian Super League (ISL) season six on Saturday at the Indira GandhiAthletic Stadium, Guwahati.
Redeem Tlang gave the home side the lead in the 2nd minutebut Xisco Hernandez equalised for Odisha (71′). Asamoah Gyan netted his debutISL goal in the 84th minute to seal full points for the Highlanders.
NorthEast United FC kicked-off their season at home intremendous fashion, with Redeem Tlang setting off fireworks in the secondminute. Panagiotis Triadis set the youngster in space on the right side, takingadvantage of Odisha's unorganised back-four. Tlang then slotted it pastArshdeep Singh, despite the custodian getting a touch before the ball hit theback of the net.
Martin Chaves, who was key in the build-up to the goal, waslively in the moments that followed and put the pressure on the Odisha defencethat looked shaky after conceding the early goal.
At the other end, Odisha resorted to crosses to createchances but did not test the NorthEast defence in the opening minutes. Theirfirst big chance arrived in the 33rd minute when Jerry Mawihmingthanga testedSubhasish Chowdhary from the edge of the box.
Seconds later, Carlos Delgado had his header tipped away bythe NorthEast custodian, who can make a fair claim to being one of their bestplayers of the half.
The second half saw both teams step up their tempo. Aftersniffing the NorthEast goal for over 25 minutes, Odisha finally pulled one backthrough Xisco Hernandez. Diawandou Diagné danced on the right flank, beforelaunching a perfect low-cross to the centre of the box. Xisco was at the righttime at the right place to score the equaliser with a deft touch to get thebetter of Subhasish for the first time on the night.
While it looked like the game was heading for a draw, Ghanian legend Gyan stamped his authority on the fixture by soaring high to head home Lalthathanga Khawlhring's delivery from the corner. Odisha was made to pay for poor defending that saw the 33-year-old completely unmarked at the centre of the box.
Odisha could not respond to the late goal and the hosts deservedly walked away with all three points.