When picking the Player of the Week, you never expect to be considering the lower teams who are struggling for points. But, this week we are doing more than just considering, and choosing Seiminlen Doungel as the second player to win our award.
The decision comes after one of the latest rounds shocks in the ISL as he helped NorthEast United to a huge 3-1 victory against high flyers Chennaiyin. Doungel did more than his fair share in the match, scoring a hat-trick to give Avram Grant’s men a huge lift.
Vs Chennai 3-1 | 3 Goals
The three strikes were also record-breaking. It was the first treble scored in a NorthEast strip by any player and also the first ever hat-trick struck against Chennai which condemned them to a 3-1 defeat.
Before the game, this looked like a classic top vs bottom clash where the home side would be lucky to survive. As it sometimes does, it turned out to be the complete opposite.
The game started very cagey for both sides, but Chennai were the aggressors coming close from a tight angle shot from Inigo Calderon which failed to hit the target. However, the game came to life in the five minutes either side of half-time where NorthEast really took a grip of the game.
First, in the 42nd minute, a shot from Danilo Lopes was poorly spilt by Chennai stopper Karanjit Singh and Doungel gratefully mopped up the loose ball into an empty net to give the strugglers a 1-0 half-time lead.
Early into the second half and the advantage was doubled. It was the exact same combination that did the damage. Danilo placed a beautifully weighted through pass which sent the striker through on goal and he made no mistake, sweeping the ball across Singh into the corner of the net.
It was a matter of the right place at the right time for Doungel to complete the first NorthEast hat-trick in the clubs history. A low Halicharan Narzary cross from the left was converted from 12 yards out to spark wild celebrations in the home end.
A late Anirudh Thapa volley was a sweet strike but nothing more than a consolation as Chennai surrendered top spot to Bengaluru once more.
The win for NorthEast was pivotal in many ways. They became only the second team to hit three past Chennai this season, and also handed them their first defeat since October!
Seminlen Doungel enjoyed a purple patch in front of goal against Chennai which took his total for the season to four. Scoring more than 50% of his teams total tally of just SEVEN this ISL campaign.
Doungel started his ISL career with NorthEast and played nine times in the inaugural Super League season scoring once, ironically against Chennai, maybe his favourite opposition?
A brief trip to Delhi Dynamos was finished with a return to NorthEast where things are starting to look up for the Indian attacker.
If Doungel can contribute more in the final third along with his teammates then there is nothing stopping the Highlanders from really starting to kick on and climb their way back up the table in the second half of the season.