December Was A Month To Forget For NorthEast United

We’re back! On this occasion it’s for NorthEast’s December, which let’s face it, can’t be much worse than their November which we covered last time out. Joao de Deus loves an outrageous claim and made exactly that when he said that NorthEast would have the top goalscorer in the ISL after his side had picked up one point from a possible six. I’m not entirely sure why would you make a claim like that after a dreadful start to the season, maybe it’s a Portuguese thing because Mourinho loves a bit of an outrageous statement as well, especially after a poor performance.

It All Started So Well In What Is Meant To Be A Happy Time Of Year

This segment of NorthEast’s season review begins in India’s capital as they travelled to a Delhi Dynamos side who had also undergone an indifferent start of their own. Delhi had won one and lost one out of two so far so it was a difficult game to call even for the most ardent ISL analyst. Unsurprisingly, the way the game went had zero bearing on the pattern of the game. Delhi had 65% of the ball, completed over 300 more passes than the visitors and also had more shots. So who do you think won? Yeah, that’s right. NorthEast.

Two early goals from Marcinho and Danilo ensured that NorthEast had something to hold onto as the game went on and they did just that. Marcinho got the first with seventeen minutes on the clock, the goal was created by Halichan Narzary who drove with the ball down the left, simply brushing off Delhi’s defenders with ease. He then put a deep cross which was converted first time by Marcinho who was afforded all the time in the world.

Danilo’s goal just minutes later was an early Christmas present if ever I’ve seen one. A straightforward pass back was cocked up royally by Albino Gomes in the Delhi goal as he completely miskicked it. Danilo was there to take the ball off his toes and put it into the empty net and for all of their trying, Delhi couldn’t find a way back into it from that point onwards.

Joao Getting Ahead Of Himself? Surely Not

NorthEast’s first win of the season meant they leapfrogged Delhi in the ISL table and meant that they went into the game with ISL new boys Bengaluru on a high. Joao was at it again pre-game…

“Bengaluru are a good opponent. For sure we are better today than we were 15 days ago when we played here against Jamshedpur FC. It is not because of the win (against Delhi Dynamos) but because of the 15 days of practice. 15 days more of closeness to create our identity, so we are better. I am sure our opponents for tomorrow are better too than their first game, so tomorrow will be a good match.”  

I appreciate that Joao’s first language isn’t English but bloody hell, do me a favour. In the opening three games, I don’t think there was that much of a difference in terms of quality and the game against Delhi was more to do with how poor they were rather than how good NorthEast were.

We’ll keep this one short and sweet much like a chocolate dwarf as a goal from Miku just after the break meant that Bengaluru came away with the three points that were required to send them back to the ISL summit. Miku’s goal was weirdly similar to Danilo’s against Delhi, this time it was TP Rehenesh who dallied on a back-pass, he then played it straight to Udanta who squared to Miku who just stroked it beyond the helpless NorthEast keeper. Safe to say Joao wasn’t too happy about that one.

Four Points From Four Games

Danilo had two golden opportunities to level things up in the last ten minutes and if the top goalscorer really was going to be from NorthEast, he should’ve taken one if not both of them. It wasn’t meant to be though as NorthEast remained on four points from the opening four games.

Looking on the bright side for a change, Joao de Deus’ side still had three games left which meant the possibility of going over double figures by the time the new year arrives. It wouldn’t be exactly where Joao would want them to do, but double figures is certainly better than single figures; it doesn’t take a genius to work that out.

On the fixture list next for NorthEast was a visit to Kerala where they would entertain the Blasters. Much like NorthEast, Kerala’s start hadn’t gone exactly the way they planned after drawing three home games in a row and then taking a pummeling away at Goa so the way this game was going was once more anyone’s guess. Forever the entertainer, De Deus had this pearler pregame this time around…

“If the home team is playing very badly, the crowd is not going to be passionate and not happy. That is going to be good for us.”

NorthEast lined up in a way that was becoming consistent now, Marcinho in behind Danilo with Narzary and Doungel on the wings. I’m not so sure what the value is in lining up with a consistent side when you’re playing as poorly as NEUFC, nonetheless I’m not the one who gets paid to make managerial decisions, so I’ll keep my nose out of it. For now.

Rehenesh Decided He Fancied Christmas Off

Kerala’s Rino Anto bombed down the right-wing and put a superb ball into the box which was met with an exquisite diving hear from CK Vineeth to put Kerala in the lead with less than twenty-five minutes on the clock. How’s that home team playing badly working out for you Joao? Sorry, I know it seems like I’m picking on him at times. That’s because I am. He drives me around the fucking bend.

You’ll recall TP Rehenesh dropped an absolute clanger against Bengaluru and the Indian keeper was at it again not too long after Vineeth had put Kerala in the driving seat. Mark Sifneos was bearing down on goal but still had quite a bit to do, so Rehenesh thought it best if dived at his feet outside the area and plucked the ball with his hands. They say you have to be mental to be a goalkeeper and I think Rehenesh may well be. Straight red card and with that the game was ended as a contest.

Mumbai were the next opponents as they travelled to Guwahati where NorthEast were desperate to get their first home win of the campaign under their belts. Going into the game, Mumbai were the favourites by virtue of league position if nothing else. As always, here’s the belter from Joao de Deus prematch…

“Of course we need to start getting more points and more goals. Both of them are inter-related so when that happens we will get more points for sure”

Say what you like about him, he’s smart as anything. Goals get you points. Stop the press. Breaking News – NorthEast manager finds a formula which suggests scoring goals gets you more points. At least he’s stopped banging on about having the top goalscorer, mind.

Luis Alfonso was favoured over Danilo this time, maybe Luis is meant to be the one who scores all the goals? As much as I joke, I do partly think that would’ve gone through the manager’s mind before selecting him over Danilo. Sigh. Naturally, with Rehenesh being suspended after his stupidity against Kerala, a replacement had to step in. Ravi Kumar, come on down!

What On Earth Is The Goalkeeping Coach Teaching Them?

What should have been a momentous occasion for him turned sour incredibly quickly as he thought it would be funny to copy his predecessor and come rushing out the box to take out Balwant who had already knocked the ball past him. If it hadn’t of gone in, Kumar would’ve been walking as well. What on earth is the goalkeeping coach teaching them in training?

Anyway, that was one-nil Mumbai before halftime. Another error, another goal. Emana and Balwant combined once more to put the game out of reach for NorthEast. Rather ironically, it was Rowllin Borges inability to clear the ball that proved to be the real problem as Emana pinched it off him and squared for Balwant who really couldn’t miss. The reason why it’s ironic is that before, the Kerala game, Joao said this…

“For me, in my opinion, Rowllin is the best Indian football player.”

Another gem. Now the month of December ends with a mauling for NorthEast and that’s putting it lightly. I’m not going to go into so much detail for this one because if you’re NorthEast reading this, you probably just want the article to come to an end and I don’t blame you. In case you’re wondering, Pune hit NorthEast for FIVE which left NorthEast 9th going into 2018. We’ll see how that panned out next time.


About the Author

Jake Flock
Football and writing are my two biggest passions, so seems right to combine the pair, don't you think?