Northeast United FC vs. FC Pune City was an interesting one and to be honest with you, I wanted FC Pune City to win this one purely because that would have made the league a three horse race. With Atletico De Kolkata and Chennaiyin FC drawing the game yesterday, FC Pune had a chance to take the top spot in the league with a win they were only 2 points off the two league leaders. However, don’t think that Northeast United FC had nothing to play for.
A win for them would’ve seen them go from the 5th spot in the league to the third spot and into the contention for the top spot. Remember, they are capable simply because they are the team with the best team ethic in this league according to me. Besides, the north eastern crowd supports their city’s team far more than other teams’ fans. In other words, there’s some form of loyalty in North east India for their team.
Len of Northeast United FC the Best Player on the Pitch
In the initial stages of the game, FC Pune City started brightly as was expected of them. Moreover, Northeast United FC continued their high octane style of game too. By the way, FC Pune City finally started their new star, Jermaine Pennant. I did want to see how the bad boy Jermaine Pennant does in India and this was my chance. Surprisingly, he was playing on the left side. He’s been a right sided player all his life. The coach probably wanted him to come in and get some shots off with his favoured right foot. By the way, David Trezeguet was still not in the starting line-up.
The highlight of Northeast United’s game was their insane pressing. Give them tiki-taka and they’ll be the Indian Barcelona. Heh, maybe not yet. Still their pressing was relentless. In the 19th minute, Northeast got a chance to score through a free header. The header, unfortunately, went wide from Seiminlen Doungel or as his friends call him “Len”. It’s good the match was held in the evening or he may just have wanted to steal the sunshine*. Len didn’t need to steal the sunshine because he was the best player on the pitch in the half.
Northeast United got a couple more half chances before FC Pune‘s Davide Colomba got off a very good shot. Rehenesh saved though. Despite the sprinkling of half chances, the game was mainly about the two teams’ midfield as neither could dominate the other. The next incident of note was the two team’s ISL marquee players coming together. Koke got an elbow in the face while Katsouranis got a yellow card for his troubles.
Last ten minutes or so of the game was what I personally call the ‘static phase’. It’s a phase where the two teams don’t really make much progress. There’s no off the ball movement which makes the game quite dull and predictable. That’s how the half petered out.
A Dull Second Half; Northeast United Deserve Mention for Trying
Northeast United FC continued their committed gameplay of intricate passing in the second half. They were playing like the home team**.
They also made a very intriguing early change. Chansa, a central midfielder, came on for the burly James Keene. Koke moved up to the forward position which was a clear indication that Northeast United FC was going to depend on their intricate passing entirely without the backup plan of the conventional English forward. Why did I see it like this? Well, because Koke is old and he was never that pacey anyways in his career. Also, he isn’t the most imposing of individuals unless you look at his teeth which are very reminiscent of Gollum. Teeth don’t matter in football, though and Koke was one of the more beautiful footballers in his prime. He was going to play as the Trequartista or the false number 9.
There were a few chances for both teams. The most notable for FC Pune City was Dudu’s header and for Northeast United FC, the almost steal from Len. Chansa came on and did some things but was let down by sleeping teammates.
The rest of the half was as dull as my grandmother knitting while waiting for the Indian Supreme Court to pass a judgement certifying that Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke more words in a minute than the distance a glacier moves in one minute. I believe it’s time for me to find something that will help me pass out. Yawn… goodnight to you good sirs.
*A nice reminder of the childhood but the game so doesn’t go with that music.
**I am profound today in my observations. Pardon me; I’ve had a long day.