Juan Pedro, the NorthEast United coach, had promised a nice evening of football when he spoke on the eve of the Indian Super League match against Kerala Blasters at the Nehru Stadium here. He should be a happy man too on Saturday night as his team forced the Blasters to a 1-1 draw in a stadium overflowing with fans roaring for their team.
The goals, scored by NEUFC’s Nestor Roger and Blasters’ Danish Farooq, were lovely ones too.
NorthEast’s opening goal in the 12th minute was the result of fine combination play and neat passes. M.S. Jithin collected a long ball from the left inside the box and neatly passed it to Nestor who was placed in the centre of the box. For a moment, the Blasters defence appeared paralysed and the Spaniard moved a bit to set up a perfect stage for his shot and calmly sent the ball into the left corner of the net.
Stung by the setback, KBFC fought hard and almost came close to finding the equaliser a few minutes later but defender Naocha Singh Huidrom was unlucky to see his attempt hit the left post. Shortly after that, Blasters defender Sandeep Singh and midfielder Adrian Luna sent a steady stream of crosses into the box from the right but there was none to grab the chances and the Blasters went into the break a goal down.
But the scene changed soon after the break. And once again, Luna was in the centre of the action with a brilliant freekick in the 49th minute. And Danish Farooq directed the perfect cross from Luna into the net with a smart header as the crowd roared in celebration.
The visitors appeared a bit nervous after the equaliser while the Blasters threatened to score a goal or two more. But it was a story of missed chances after that.
The result: Kerala Blasters FC 1 (Danish Farooq 49) drew with NorthEast United FC 1 (Nestor Albiach 12).