Juan Mascia scored the winner for hhe Highlanders from the spot during the dying exchanges of the encounter.

NorthEast United secured a crucial home leg win over league leaders Bengaluru FC in the first ISL playoff first leg. 

A stunning first half strike from Redeem Tlang gave the Highlanders a headstart they desperately needed. Xisco Hernandez’s equaliser did spice things up, before Juan Mascia converted from the spot in the dying exchanges to seal a 2-1 win for the hosts.

Watch: NorthEast United 2-1 Bengaluru FC, Goals and Highlights

At the post-match press conference, Eelco Schattorie was satisfied but more concerned with the injuries to both Rowllin Borges and Bartholomew Ogbeche. Speaking about the condition of both the players the Dutchman said, “The condition of Ogbeche is pretty serious and even Rowllin was injured in training, but he partly recovered to start the match. I don’t think both the players will be available for the next match.”

When asked about the impact of the injuries on their gameplay Schattorie said, “Not having them was a huge problem. I had to bring in Nikhil (Kadam) for Borges who is physically less capable. But, I think we outplayed Bengaluru in the first half, which was one of our best performances in the whole tournament.”

Speaking about his tactics he said, “Bengaluru hardly had any chances in the first half. I think we played really well. I like having a good centre-back who is good with the ball and can play it out from the back. It was unfortunate to lose two crucial players, we did not play good football in the second half, but still, they did not create many chances.”

The tactician also spoke about his side’s injury woes and his selection dilemma as the Dutchman is left with only 16 players, including two goalkeepers. He was full of praise for Redeem Tlang who scored the opening goal.

“I told him before the game you will score and he did it, it was a fantastic left-footed effort. I always push my young players and understand that they need more time to grow. He has great capabilities with the ball, but the final touch and finishing is something that he needs to develop. I am very happy that he scored, this will be a boost in confidence for him and hope he carries this forward,” said Schattorie.

The NEUFC tactician was happy with his side’s display

The Dutchman concluded by saying that he is very satisfied with his side and hopes that they can reach the final for the first time in their club history.


Meanwhile, Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat believed that his team could have easily ended on the victorious side after putting on a great show in the second half of the game.

When questioned about his team’s change in attitude after the halfway mark the coach replied, “Well, you know football is like this. Sometimes, you get more possession, sometimes less. But, the thing is that they were playing at home, so they gave an excellent performance in front of their supporters. But, in the second half, we tried to work the ball from one side to the other and created the chances to score. So, it was a nice game to watch with lots of exciting things happening.”

“To be calm and we were sometimes losing possession during the last pass, you know the pass which can really break the other team. We have the quality to break the other team, so we have to work on it. The last pass for Miku, Sunil (Chhetri) or Udanta (Singh) was not the right one, so we have to work on that. It was a good game and we deserved to at least come out with a draw, so let’s see what happens in the other leg,” said Cuadrat when questioned about on what he will focus more in the second leg. 

The Spaniard also looked very happy about securing an away goal. He stated that getting that goal was important, although his team deserved a better result.

Eelco Schattorie’s men will now have the upper hand in the reverse leg at the Kanteerava Stadium. The match kicks-off at 7:30 PM, on 11th March.