NorthEast United have suffered four defeats in their six matches in season four of the Indian Super League (ISL). The only draw was in their season opener against Jamshedpur FC and their win came in Delhi.
A close look at each of their defeats, you would notice one common trait. Chennaiyin FC were the first team to beat them, with a 3-0 scoreline in Chennai. The Super Machans were coming into the tie after a 3-2 defeat at the hands of FC Goa. That was a much needed a victory to kick-start their ISL season. The game saw some atrocious schoolboy defending from the north-eastern outfit with at least two of the three goals being down to their mistakes.
The Highlanders next suffered a loss to Bengaluru FC. They put in a much-improved display and Albert Roca’s team too weren’t at their best after going down 4-3 in Goa. The Blues were without the services of Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and had Lalthuammawia Ralte in goal who had only just recovered from an injury suffered in the pre-season. NorthEast gifted a goal to the visitors thanks to T.P.Rehenesh and Bengaluru FC were back to winning ways.
Kerala Blasters were humiliated 5-2 by FC Goa with Ferran Corominas’ second-half blitz left Sandesh Jhingan with no excuse but to apologize on social media. Against NorthEast United, they allowed an out of form Chekiyot Vineeth to score the only goal of the game. Although T.P.Rehenesh was wrongly sent-off, NorthEast United allowed Kerala to register their first win of the season thanks to their profligacy upfront.
Mumbai City FC went down 1-0 to ATK last Sunday. The Alexandre Guimaraes’ side were without the services of Sehnaj Singh and had to play NorthEast United within three days of their last game. Mind you, Mumbai City isn’t a side known to pick a lot of points on the road.
NorthEast United started the game with attacking intent and should have at least been 2-0 up before 25 minutes. However, they gifted the goal to Mumbai City with Balwant Singh had the presence of mind to slot the ball home after Ravi Kumar came off his line needlessly. They leaked in another with a half-fit Rowllin Borges being responsible this time around.
Mumbai City too returned to form and only scored twice away from home in a winning cause for the very first time in their history.
Almost every team, except fellow strugglers Delhi Dynamos, faced NorthEast United after having suffered a defeat, in most cases the number of goals conceded were more than three, in their previous game.
While Joao de Deus’ side should ideally capitalize on the opposition’s poor confidence, they have in fact helped boost it.
ISL 2017: Alexandre Guimaraes - We punched NorthEast United in the right moments
| ISL 2017: Frustrated de Deus laments NorthEast United's profligacy
| ISL 2017: NorthEast United 0-2 Mumbai City - Balwant's brace seals comfortable win for The Islanders
Their next two games are against FC Pune City and FC Goa, both teams with enough firepower to threaten their defence. It’s not just their attack which has left them down but also their poor back-line.
In each of their defeats, there have been individual mistakes which have cost them dear. Until they manage to sort them, they will continue to be a lucky charm for the oppositions.