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ISL 2020-21: Sylla's late strike helps NEUFC share spoils with Blasters


Bengaluru, November 26: Substitute Idrissa Sylla found a goal out of nowhere in the dying minutes of the game to help NorthEast United FC complete a superb comeback against Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) at in Bambolim, Goa.

Goals from Sergio Cidoncha (5') and Gary Hooper (45') gave Blasters a first-half lead in the ISL Season 7 tie at the GMC Stadium.

But Kwesi Appiah (51') halved the deficit before Sylla's late equaliser (90') literally snatched a point for the Highlanders.

Tribute to Maradona

Tribute to Maradona

After a minute's silence to honour Diego Maradona, Blasters got off to a dream start with Cidoncha heading in a Seityasen free-kick in the fifth minute.

The Spaniard's looped header was a thing of beauty - no goalkeeper in the world could have saved that. Sahal Abdul Samad's absence had meant that Cidoncha was playing higher up and that strategy worked a treat.

Offensive move

Offensive move

Both teams struggled to create clear-cut chances until the end of the first half until an offensive move from Blasters ended with the referee pointing to the spot.

Rakesh Pradhan was rather harshly adjudged to have slashed Lalthathanga Khawlhring down. Hooper fired the resulting penalty straight down the middle. NorthEast keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury managed to get a foot to it, but the touch wasn't enough to keep the ball out.

Close range

Close range

The Highlanders started the second-half positively and were soon rewarded for their intent. Some poor defending by Blasters allowed Appiah to score from close range. However, Appiah turned villain soon later when NorthEast were awarded a penalty in the 65th minute.

The Ghanian tried to find Lalengmawia, but the latter was brought down in the box by Jessel Carneiro. Appiah stepped up to take the penalty but his spot-kick hit the crossbar before ricocheting out.

Super sub

Super sub

Minutes after his miss, Appiah was replaced by Guinean forward Sylla who would go on to have a major influence on the game. Nus' side kept knocking on the door and were soon rewarded for their efforts.

Sylla missed a chance to draw level in the 83rd minute when he directed a header over the bar. But he made up for that in injury time, superbly controlling a long ball from Gurjinder Kumar with his chest before powering home past Kerala keeper Albino Gomes. In the end, the draw ensured that NorthEast remained unbeaten after two games.

(Source: ISL Media)

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Story first published: Thursday, November 26, 2020, 22:09 [IST]
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