A foreign striker may have scored the only goal of the game, but the Highlanders’ domestic stars played key roles in sealing the success.

NorthEast United had a pleasant start to life after the winter break, as they beat Chennaiyin FC by a solitary goal to strengthen their playoffs hopes, at the business end of the Indian Super League 2018-19. The hosts created a string of chances, but looked rusty with their finishing touches and blew at least a couple of opportunities in the first half.

Visitors Chennaiyin were on the back foot throughout the game, as NorthEast dominated possession on their home turf. In the 87th minute, Puitea laid off the ball perfectly for skipper Bartholomew Ogbeche, who slammed the ball in from outside the box and it ended up in the top right corner, sending the Guwahati crowd into a frenzy.

Watch: NorthEast United 1-0 Chennaiyin FC highlights

NorthEast United FC

TP Rehenesh7.0

Displayed a safe pair of hands under the woodwork. However, Rehenesh didn’t have much to worry about in the game, as Chennaiyin’s attack ceased to exist inside the United box.

Reagan Singh7.5

The Manipuri right-back put in a fine shift on Saturday evening. He worked hard to regain possession and also helped his side build attacks, swinging in numerous crosses from the right corridor.  

Robert Lalthlamuana7.0

Helped to keep the defence airtight, communicating well with the Croatian centre-half duo of Mato Grgic and Mislav Komorski. Looked sloppy on a few occasions, when the likes of Gregory Nelson and Raphael Augusto beat him for pace. Otherwise was in complete control of affairs.

Redeem Tlang7.0

Had a poor first half going by his standards. Missed a couple of goalscoring opportunities in the first half, as he failed to even hit the target. The Meghalayan youngster was otherwise a lively threat on the pitch, as he rallied deep in the Chennaiyin half in search of loopholes.

Rowllin Borges7.0

Back from international duty, Borges combined well with Jose c Leudo as usual and drove NorthEast up the pitch. However, he was utterly poor in his attacking attributes, swinging his boots around in vain. Borges even failed to time his header into the back of the net late in the first half, off a Puitea cross that left onlookers furious.

Lalthathanga Khawlhring8.0

The Mizo teenage sensation was at his peak once again. Puitea caused a bit of a headache in the Chennaiyin defensive midfield, as he managed to deliver perfect crosses and passes wherever and whenever required. He never ran out of fuel and chased the ball tirelessly.

Substitutes

Keegan PereiraNA

Came on for Robert Lalthlamuana in the 74th minute, to add more energy in the defence. He played his part successfully and ended up on the winning side.

Nikhil KadamNA

Replaced Redeem Tlang in the 86th minute.


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Chennaiyin FC

Karanjit Singh6.5

Was the busier of the two keepers in the game by some distance. However, he was quick with his reflexes and pulled off some brilliant saves. He almost ended the game with a clean-sheet to his name, until Ogbeche’s late strike shattered his defenses.

Laldinliana Renthlai6.0

Dinliana looked a bit sloppy in his defensive duties, inviting some discomfort in the early minutes of both halves. He was slow to recover after losing his markers on the wings. Had an average outing.

Zohmingliana Ralte6.5

The debutant paired up with Eli Sabia to form the core of Chennaiyin’s backline. Was called into action frequently, as the hosts created plenty of chances. Zotea was very scrappy on one occasion, as his failure to clear the ball out of harm’s way almost allowed Ogbeche to break the deadlock late in the first half.

Tondomba Singh6.0

The former NEROCA FC man put in a full night’s shift against the Highlanders. However, he wasn’t utilized much in the game, as Chennaiyin didn’t see much of the ball. The left-back made seven vital clearances and two interceptions for his side.

Germanpreet Singh6.5

One of the most promising midfield talents, Germanpreet had a tough battle with the NorthEast midfield. He was called into action and did all the dirty work on the pitch, making rash tackles at times, but went off without a caution.

He swept aside Federico Gallego inside his own box, in what was a wreckless tackle worthy of a penalty, but the referee favoured Germanpreet. He registered four tackles, four clearances and a couple of blocks and interceptions.

Halicharan Narzary6.0

Assamese winger Holicharan Narzary stepped out on familiar territory, as he donned the Chennaiyin colours after a loan move from Kerala Blasters. But, he wasn’t utilized as he would have liked.

Narzary tried digging in a couple of crosses from the left wing, but was kept out of safely by the NorthEast defence. He cut a frustrated figure in the last minutes of the game.

CK Vineeth5.5

Joining Narzary in a similar move from Kerala, CK Vineeth was given a start by John Gregory, for his attacking prowess. But, that counted for nothing as Chennnaiyin looked absolutely dull and blunt upfront.

Substitutes

Anirudh Thapa5.5

Came in for Andrea Orlandi in the 61st minute. Tried to restore stability in the midfield and gain some momentum to push inside the Highlanders’ box.

Thoi SinghNA

Replaced CK Vineeth in the 77th minute.