NorthEast, Bengaluru play out 1-1 draw, continue winless streaks

Vasco (Goa), Jan 12 (IANS) NorthEast United and Bengaluru FC played out a drab 1-1 draw on Tuesday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium and thus continued their winless streak in the Indian Super League (ISL).

NorthEast took the lead in the 27th minute through Luis Machado, but an error from goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh allowed Rahul Bheke to equalise for Bengaluru in the 49th minute.

The result meant Gerard Nus’s side are now winless in seven games, while Bengaluru saw their four-game losing streak end but only with a draw.

NorthEast and Bengaluru both made three changes each to their respective playing XI. However, NorthEast were forced to make a late change before the whistle with Lalengmawia replacing the injured Lalrempuia Fanai.

Bengaluru started the game strongly and despite dominating possession, they entered the break trailing a goal down against their opponents, who created better chances. Machado put NorthEast ahead with a brilliant strike, after netting a brace against the Bengaluru in the reverse fixture earlier this season. Federico Gallego dispossessed Dimas Delgado and made a run straight at the heart of Bengaluru’s defence before unleashing a shot. Pratik Chaudhari miscued his clearance, allowing Machado to receive the ball at the far post and slot it past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

NorthEast could have doubled their tally soon after the half-hour mark had Suhair VP converted his chance. Rochharzela whipped a cross for the unmarked striker in the box, but he cushioned his header over the crossbar.

The best chance for Bengaluru arrived during injury time. But NEUFC keeper Gurmeet Singh kept his side’s lead intact, denying Cleiton Silva with a crucial save.

Bengaluru restored parity soon after the change of ends in a rather fortuitous fashion through a set-piece, after a howler from NorthEast keeper Gurmeet. Dimas played Bheke on the right flank, who cut on his weaker foot before launching a shot at goal. Gurmeet made an error while collecting the ball, allowing Bheke to net his first goal of the season.

Following the equaliser, neither side was unable to carve out any clear-cut chances as the game turned out scrappy. Bheke, however, had another chance to get on the scoresheet late in the game but couldn’t make the best of it. After BFC won a corner, Dimas’s cross found Bheke in the box, who fired his shot over the bar.

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