SC East Bengal Go Down to NorthEast United 2-0

Margao, December 17: SC East Bengal suffered their fourth defeat of the Hero Indian Super League, going down 2-0 to NorthEast United FC at the Fatorda Stadium here. Second-half goals from former SCEB man VP Suhair and Australian defender Patrick Flottmann proved to be enough for the Highlanders to recover from their losing streak.

SCEB made three changes going into the match, with club skipper Arindam Bhattacharya, Md Rafique and Naorem Mahesh Singh all making a comeback into the starting XI. The game started at a brisk pace, with both teams trying to control the midfield. NEUFC enjoyed some early possession but hardly bothered Arindam Bhattacharya, as the SCEB defence stood tall to the challenge.

SCEB suffered a big blow as they were forced to make a change as early as the 30th minute, when Croatian defender Franjo Prce hurt his ankle and had to be replaced by Amir Dervisevic.

The best chance of the opening half fell to SCEB when attackers Antonio Perosevic and Chima Chukwu found themselves alone with the NEUFC goalkeeper within 30 seconds of each other. Perosevic tried to place the ball past Mirshad, who came off his line to make the save. The rebound fell to Md Rafique, who fed it to Chima Chukwu, but the Nigerian failed to control the ball and the NEUFC defence managed to clear their lines.

The second half saw NEUFC mounting the pressure and it paid dividends. VP Suhair made a late run into the box and received the ball deep inside in the 61st minute. The Indian forward held-off Dervisevic and took a shot towards his near post. The ball eluded Arindam’s outstretched hand, hit the post and went in.

The second goal came seven minutes later, when a set-piece found Mapuia outside the box and in a crossing position. The forward kept the ball in the box and found teammate Patrick Flottmann, who nodded the ball in without any challenge.

To add to the woes of the Red-And-Gold Brigade, Antonio Perosevic was given marching orders towards the dying minutes for having a scuffle with the referee after conceding a foul.

Spanish coach Jose Manuel Diaz will have a lot of issues to resolve when SC East Bengal take on Hyderabad FC at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Thursday, December 23.

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