2020-21 Indian Super League, Regular Season
  • Juanan (13')
  • Udanta Kumam (70')
  • Luis Machado (3', 78')

ISL 2020-21: Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC remain unbeaten after entertaining draw

Suhair VP challenges Erik Paartalu for a header as NorthEast United play Bengaluru FC. Faheem Hussain / Sportzpics for ISL

Goals from Juanan and Udanta Singh, either side of a Luis Machado brace, saw Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC share the spoils after a surprisingly open match between two of the league's most defensively minded teams.

The match started at breakneck pace, and the opener came in the third minute for the NorthEast. A couple of delightful flicks in midfield saw Machado scythe through midfield before feeding VP Suhair on the right wing, who cut it back to Roccharzela. He drove into the box and shot at goal - it deflected off Juanan's toe and then Machado's shoulder leaving Gurpreet Singh Sandhu no chance in the BFC goal.

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The early goal pushed BFC further forward in search of an equaliser, which consequently allowed NorthEast space on the counter.

BFC equalised within ten minutes, and it came once again through a set piece. An incisive Rahul Bheke long-throw caused all sorts of havoc in the NorthEast box, and Juanan got to the bouncing ball first before he held off his marker and turned it in from close range.

The two teams kept trading blows through the remainder of the half. Ashique Kuruniyan, playing left back, was BFC's biggest attacking weapon. He drove hard, dribbled with pace and penetration, and troubled NorthEast almost every time he entered the attacking third. Suhair gave him some trouble defensively, but it's these kinds of displays that make a case for him to play further forward.

Gerard Nus Casanova, recognising the threat, got Ninthoi on early in the second half in an effort to peg Ashique back. It succeeded to an extent, and Carles Cuadrat got Udanta Singh on to provide a different threat.

It was Suhair, though, that almost set up NorthEast's second goal with a superb ball into the box. Kwesi Appiah attacked it, and directed a powerful header off the ground and toward the goal, where Gurpreet pulled off a superb save.

In the other goal, Gurmeet matched his heroics with a superb reflex save after Kristian Opseth smashed a volley at goal from just outside the six-yard box after good work from Udanta and Cleiton Silva on the right flank.

The goal that put came via Udanta in the 70th minute. A long ball in from deep in midfield was headed on well by Sunil Chhetri. Dylan Fox seemed to have it under control, but he allowed the ball to roll across the face of the box, where Udanta raced into smash a low hard drive past Gurmeet.

Much like the first half, the equaliser came soon, just eight minutes later. Idrissa Sylla outjumped Rahul Bheke for a high ball, Juanan slipped under pressure as he collected Sylla's knock on, and Machado was on hand to collect and curl a good finish past Gurpreet.

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The shared points mean NorthEast move to second with 9 points in five, and Bengaluru to fourth with 6 points in four. They are the only teams (along with Hyderabad FC) who are yet to lose a game this season. Bengaluru next face Kerala Blasters on December 13, while NorthEast go up against Chennaiyin on the same day.