There was no festive cheer, neither was there any despair as Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Sunday.
When NorthEast’s Nestor Albiach converted an 86th-minute spot-kick after a foul from Naorem Roshan, Christmas had seemingly come early for the visitors. But substitute N. Sivasakthi gate-crashed the party with a fine header in the 95th minute off a cross from Jessel Carneiro. Status quo was thus maintained in the points table, with NorthEast remaining eighth (11 points) and BFC ninth (also 11 pts, but inferior goal difference).
The first period set the tone for a lively evening as both sides threatened the goal multiple times. The deadlock was unbroken largely because neither outfit could summon the killer instinct in the final third.
The first clear-cut chance fell to the away side in the 55th minute when M.S. Jithin cut in from the left and unleashed a fierce shot from just outside the penalty area only to be thwarted by a diving Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Immediately after, BFC’s Ryan Williams broke free during a counter-attack but couldn’t beat the NorthEast custodian Mirshad Koottappunna.
Following the hour mark, NorthEast’s Albiach and Parthib Gogoi missed headers from close range while Halicharan Narzary was denied by a lunging last-ditch tackle from Huidrom Thoi Singh.
With 10 minutes left, Gogoi missed a golden opportunity when he fluffed a one-on-one with Gurpreet. Spaniard Albiach’s penalty would have helped him breathe a little, but it wasn’t long before Sivasakthi knocked the air out of NorthEast.
The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Sivasakthi 90+5) drew with NorthEast United FC 1 (Albiach 86-pen).
Source website: www.thehindu.com