In what turned out to be another hard-fought, but a frustrating encounter, NorthEast United FC managed to come up with a subtle performance to hold former champions Chennaiyin FC goalless in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21, at the Tilak Maidan in Goa, on Sunday. The draw pushed NEU to the second spot, while Chennaiyin remain in the eighth place.

The opening half saw as many as 10 attempts from the sides. However, it was NEU who were aggressive, who came up with six of the attacks, only to be shot wide or denied by Chennaiyin’s thwarting defence.

Both the sides upped their ante in the second half, with 14 attacks. However, it was the visitors this time, who came up with nine of those attacks. Nonetheless, this time, NEU’s defence was also tested, who failed to budge. As the deadlock stayed intact, the referee had no choice but to blow the final whistle to share the honours.

Following the game, Chennaiyin head coach Csaba Laszlo said, “If we were clinical, we could have won the game 2-0 or even 3-1. Jakub Sylvestr should have scored and even the shot from [Lallianzuala] Chhangte was from five meters, but it went over the crossbar. If we had scored these goals, then definitely we could have won the game, but this is what we are missing.”

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“I am never happy with a draw or even if we lose a game, but since we played just four days ago and without Isma [Esmael Goncalves], [Enes] Sipovic and Anirudh Thapa [who though came on as a substitute in the 75th minute], I think one point was a fair result,” added Laszlo.

Meanwhile, NEU head coach Gerard Nus came up with a similar conclusion, saying “We created a lot of chances and this speaks very highly of the team. But, we have to put those balls into the goal and today was not that day. So, we need to keep working and be ready for Jamshedpur.”

“I am disappointed. We wanted to win. We came with the tactics and plans prepared to get the three points, but I am disappointed with the result. But, I am happy with the effort and the commitment. We kept trying till the very end and that is something that I am proud of. Now, we need to prepare for the next game. To be unbeaten in six games is not that easy. Not many teams can say that. We are proud of it,” Nus added.