Indian Player Ratings: Rowllin Borges the star man as NorthEast United defeat Kerala Blasters
Written by: Manas Pratim Kashyap
The Highlanders scored two late goals to steal the three points from the southerners.
Just when the chips were down and disappointed faces hung everywhere among the Highlanders faithful, NorthEast United FC provided a late spark scoring two inside injury time to turn down a 0-1 deficit to a 2-1 win against Kerala Blasters in Guwahati. With this win, the Highlanders broke their winless streak at home this season and climbed to the third position on the table.
The hosts started well against a fragile visiting Kerala side. Both sides went into the interval with a 0-0 scoreline and saved the best for the second half. It was Kerala who broke the deadlock via Poplatnik’s well-finished header and looked well poised for a win. However, the home team levelled in the 93rd minute via Ogbeche’s smart penalty earned by virtue of Jhingan’s terrible physical knock on Mascia. It wasn’t over yet, as substitute Juan Cruz Mascia shattered the net with an absolute scorcher in the 95th minute, handing his side full three points.
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Watch: NorthEast United 2-1 Kerala Blasters highlights
Khel Now rates the Indian players from both sides based on their performances in Friday night’s game.
NorthEast United FC
Pawan Kumar- 6.5
With the coach’s much needed backing and confidence, Pawan Kumar kept his place yet again. And rightly so, the short and sharp goalie displayed a safe pair of hands. Couldn’t do much to prevent Poplatnik’s header though.
Reagan Singh- 6.0
The rightback wasn’t called on for any serious situations in the first half. Kept both Doungel and Narzary quiet when they came attacking through the right corridor. Looked a bit sloppy at times but had his fair share of luck as well.
Robert Lalthlamuana- 6.0
The Mizo left-back had a few interesting dwells for the ball with Prasanth, however, played safe on most occasions. He didn’t shy away from taking those odd runs upfront when NEUFC had possession and dug in a number of crosses right inside the box.
After a string of decent outings, the youngster made the XI once again. Puitea was fielded on the left of midfield, however, displayed his versatility making his presence felt both in the offense and the defense occasionally. The youngster is regarded very highly by his coach and he didn't disappoint either.
Redeem Tlang- 6.5
Another match, another energy-packed performance on the field. Redeem initiated waves of attacks through the right flank as NorthEast looked to pile up the pressure on the visitors during most part of the match. He gave way for Nikhil Kadam in the 82nd minute.
Rowllin Borges- 7.5
The India international displayed a responsible performance on the pitch. He won a few physical duals and was one of the most integral figures on the pitch today. Borges lobbed one perfectly in the injury time setting up Mascia for a perfect volley which crashed the back of the net earning NEUFC a first home win this season.
Nikhil Kadam- N/A
Replaced Redeem Tlang in the last 10 minutes of regulation time.
Keegan Pereira- 6.0
Came on in the 64th minute for Robert Lalthlamuana. Helped his team move up the pitch and checked in with fine tackles and interceptions on certain occasions.
Kerala Blasters FC
Dheeraj Singh- 6.5
Kept his cool and calm composure all throughout the game. The Blasters' starlet was neat and clean with his glove work and evaded high balls with powerful punches. However he could not deal with the two late goals from NorthEast and had to end on the losing side.
Sandesh Jhingan- 6.0
An absolute rock at the defense as usual. The skipper put in a full shift keeping Ogbeche out of reach of the goal early in the first half when the Highlanders began in a fine tempo. Combined well with Nemanja Lakic-Pesic to form a great defensive partnership at the back. His silly physical nudge on Mascia was the much-required opening for the home side as NorthEast upstaged the lead in no time. Would be gutted to return home emptyhanded.
Sahal Abdul Samad- 5.5
The midfielder helped soak in the pressure early on. However, didn't do much to prevent NorthEast United midfield dominate over his side. Was taken off after the hour mark.
Seiminlen Doungel- 6.5
Looked very busy in the attacking third since the very first minute. Missed a clear header early on set up by a Narzary cross. Led Kerala’s attack on most occasions. Put in the hard yards and worked tirelessly giving the Blasters hope for more goals. However, he found himself isolated on occasions and chances went begging.
Halicharan Narzary- 7.0
The Assam lad faced his former side and displayed much quality on Friday evening. His pin-point crosses. Narzary was unlucky to miss a clever little chip over Pawan Kumar late inside the first half. Posed serious threat for the home side during his time on the field. He was replaced by C.K. Vineeth at the 60”.
Prasanth K- 5.5
The fullback tried his best on the right flank giving some occasional headaches to Robert. Wasn't in the picture throughout most of the game time.
Zakeer Mundampara- 6.0
Being the only unused substitute on the Kerala bench David James decided to give a go to Zakeer last evening. He was brought on in the 65th minute for Sahal. Zakeer’s well-taken corner kick found Poplatnik who sneaked one past the near past
CK Vineeth- 5.5
Came on for Halicharan Narzary at the hour mark. Could have scored off his first touch with a smart touch and turn right outside the 30-yard box but the shot missed the crossbar by a few inches.
David James brought him on as a defensive reinforcement in place of Len Doungel after Kerala Blasters took the lead. Committed a few rash challenges towards the end of the game.
Published: Sat Nov 24, 2018 01:03 AM IST