The Highlanders were on their way to end the season on a high but the Marina Machans pulled them back to a draw.

Chennaiyin FC’s stoppage-time equalizer cut short the celebrations in Guwahati, as NorthEst United’s last game of the season ended in a stalemate. Chennaiyin took the lead early in the first half, before Martin Chaves scored twice to give the hosts the lead. The Marina Machans were reduced to 10 men in the later stages of the first half. Khalid Jamil and NorthEast United were cruising to the win, but fell to Lallianzuala Chhangte’s 93rd-minute equalizer. NEUFC end the league campaign sitting ninth on the table with 14 points and a poor record of 14 winless games.

NorthEast United’s interim head coach Khalid Jamil reflected on his side’s performance as the league phase of the competition comes to a close.

The coach was asked if NorthEast’s defensive approach towards the end was the reason they failed to secure a win. He said, “I don’t think we were defensive, whatever we did worked well for us. But, we conceded a silly goal. The second goal was a silly goal.”

Khalid Jamil also had a few strong words for his players, as he looks to bounce back next season. “I thought it was three points. We tried, everybody tried. For next season we have to think positive, we must work hard. Some players have this wrong mentality, not getting a chance and when you get a chance you don’t perform. Your duty is only to work hard and when you get a chance you must show.”

On the winless streak

“There is only one solution to solve this problem, you only have to work hard. During practice, with the team and individually, you must work hard.”

On the team’s performance

“Everybody played good. (Jose) Leudo was fantastic. Martin scored a fantastic goal, it was good. Ninthoi was good, Redeem (Tlang) also, everybody played good.”

On Chennaiyin FC

“They are a good team. They have done well this season. They are one of the strongest teams,” he concluded.

The game between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC marks the end of the league campaign in the Indian Super League. As the playoffs commence, Chennaiyin are set to take on FC Goa. Whereas, Bengaluru FC face ATK on their road to defend the title.