The Highlanders clinched a close game from right under the Mariners’ noses.

NorthEast United FC ran out 1-0 winners against ATK Mohun Bagan at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in ISL 2022-23 on Saturday. The Mariners began on the front foot with Dimitri Petratos and Liston Colaco both coming close but not close enough. Juan Ferrando’s men hogged enough of the ball as expected, but Vincenzo Annese’s tactics worked once again for his favourite rival. The Highlanders committed twice the number of fouls as their Kolkata counterparts as they sat deep and lay in wait for the perfect opportunity.

10 minutes after the hour mark, Wilmar Jordan rose highest to head home Emil Benny’s cross and score the only goal of the ISL game. NorthEast United went right back into their shell as they managed some dogged defending and came out with all three points.

Let us now take a look at Khel Now’s player ratings for the night:

NorthEast United FC

Mirshad Michu – 7.5

Kept ATKMB attackers at bay as he made six saves and one high claim, leading from the back with his bravery and fearlessness.

Joe Zoherliana – 6.5

Vigilant from the start as he slid in to fend off the likes of Liston and Petratos with three interceptions and three tackles in the ISL game.

Gaurav Bora – 6.5

Lost all three aerial duels and won only three of his seven ground battles and could not find his ground amongst an otherwise energetic NorthEast side. 

Aaron Evans – 6.5

Made five clearances but still lost the ball eight times. Although he did not commit any errors, Evans was not called to action very often.

Tondonba Singh – 7

Silenced Colaco well, losing only one ground duel and completing two of his five long balls while on the attack. 

Emil Benny – 7

Marauded the midfield well, drifting into space, and teed up Wilmar Jordan for the opener as he also completed 50% of his take-on and made two key passes.  

Ion Gaztanaga – 6.5

Conceded possession to Petratos at times but was influential in driving the Highlanders forward with his 79% passing accuracy. Won six out of seven duels but still received a yellow for a harsh foul. 

Pragyan Sundar Gogoi – 6.5

Helped Gaztanaga and Benny run rings around McHugh and Lenny, with one completed take-on and 14 completed passes out of 18.

Rochharzela – 6

Not exactly a menace as he went into the book and lost possession 15 times. Substituted off for Ralte in the 71st minute after getting only 44 touches on the ball.

Wilmar Jordan – 7

Bullied Hamill and Kotal continuously and finally got the fruit of his labour as Emil Benny’s pinpoint cross met him for a thunderbolt of a header to rattle the back of the net and help NorthEast United win their first ISL game of the season against ATK Mohun Bagan.

Romain Phillippoteaux – 6.5

Went head to head with Petratos as he provided good defensive cover but also looked to threaten continuously. Made one key pass and completed one of his two take-ons.

Substitutes 

Laldanmawia Ralte – N/A

Played only 11 minutes as he was taken off for Parthib Gogoi to come on after being substituted in place of Rochharzela.

Parthib Gogoi – N/A

Four touches on the ball after coming on could not really tell a story.

ATK Mohun Bagan 

Vishal Kaith – 6.5

Unlike his counterpart on the other side, Kaith only faced three shots on target out of which he saved two. The only shot he couldn’t save made the difference and meant an unlucky day at the office for the custodian.

Pritam Kotal – 5.5

Head in the clouds for Jordan’s 69th-minute goal and needed to do more as captain of the side. No defensive actions also meant the ISL veteran was barely doing his job. 

Brendan Hamill – 6.5

The Australian was dribbled past only once as he won four of five round duels. His front-foot defending kept ATK Mohun Bagan in the game and prevented NorthEast United from venturing into threatening spaces.

Deepak Tangri – 6.5

Played well as the left-sided centre-back, allowing Subhasish Bose to advance forward but was taken off at half-time for Kiyan Nassiri to bolster the attack.

Ashish Rai – 6.5

Despite the result, Rai was seen bombing forward more often and more effectively as he contested six duels (winning four) and turned in three key passes.

Lenny Rodrigues – 5.5

Non-involved and overshadowed by Gaztanaga Benny and Gogoi as he won a mere two of his five ground duels. Taken off after a gloomy 85 minutes to introduce Ravi Rana.

Carl McHugh – 6.5

He regulated the midfield well as he played in a box-to-box role alongside his enforcer duties, making three key passes and winning all four of his ground duels.  

Subhasish Bose  – 6.5

Completed his high-flying wingback duties down to the T as he won all four of his aerial duels as well as three of his four dribble attempts. It was his cross that Ashish Rai headed back to Liston only for the winger to hit it on the underside and blast his shot sky-high.

Liston Colaco – 5.5

Pocketed almost perfectly by NorthEast United’s Tondonba Singh despite the positional freedom of the ATK Mohun Bagan winger across the front three. Completed one out of his two take-ons and missed one golden chance to get one for the Mariners.

Dimitri Petratos – 6.5

Almost on the fringes of scoring from some gilt-edged chances as he robbed Gaztanaga frequently. Tried a few ambitious shots, playing deeper as a false nine and generated four key passes in the ISL game. 

Ashique Kuruniyan – 6.5

The flash reached top speeds of 34 km/hr as he switched in and out between Gaurav Bora and Joe but went off injured in the 66th minute. Replaced by Fardin Ali Molla. 

Substitutes 

Kiyan Nassiri – 6.5

Had two shots on target after coming on as an offensive addition but could not get past Michu’s reliant gloves.

Ravi Rana – 6

Saw very less of the ball in 13 minutes of action and was not as effective.

Fardin Molla – 6.5

Came closest for the visitors as he fired in a rising volley in the dying minutes but the effort was easily pummelled out of play by Mirshad Michu.

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