Guwahati: Simao Sabrosa kept his cool to score a last-minute penalty and Nicolas Velez added another goal in added time as NorthEast United FC got the better of 10-man Chennaiyin FC 2-0 in a fiery Hero Indian Super League clash here at Indira Gandhi Stadium, in Guwahati on Tuesday.
Simao’s goal for his team’s first win in the ISL was dramatic as Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Edel Bete had earlier in the first session saved a penalty and the visitors also had Harmanjyot Khabra sent off in the 40th minute.
NorthEast United FC coach Cesar Farias made as many as seven changes to his team, including a debut for Cameroon defender Andre Bikey, who had replaced injured captain Miguel Garcia and Holicharan Narzary, who recovered from injury and made his debut for NorthEast United.
Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi too made many changes but most of his six changes were aimed at giving his players well-deserved rest. Regulars like Elano Blumer and Stiven Mendoza, who in between them have scored seven goals, were left on the bench.
NorthEast United started positively and could have surged ahead in the first minute itself. Diomansy Kamara headed a ball for Francis Dadzie, who cut inside and shot from just outside the box but his effort missed the target by a whisker.
Chennaiyin did not take too much time to settle down with Fikru Teferra and Jayesh Rane having good chances to give their team the lead.
NorthEast United had a chance to go ahead in the 38th minute when they were awarded a penalty. A corner kick saw Alessandro Potenza pull down Cedric Hengbart and referee pointed to the spot. Kamara stepped up to take the spot kick but Edel Bete guessed correctly and saved the penalty kick, his second save in the competition.
There was more drama after the penalty save as Chennaiyin midfielder Harmanjyot Khabra was issued the marching orders for aggressive behaviour.
In the second session, both teams made influential changes in an attempt to gain control. While Chennaiyin FC introduced Elano and Mendoza, NorthEast United fielded striker Nicolas Velez and marquee player Simao Sabrosa.
NorthEast went close in the 65th minute when Dadzie laid the ball for Boithang Haokip who sensed an opportunity from inside the box but his shot was wide of the mark.
At the other end, Mendoza beat his marker and then hoodwinked another one but his final attempt ballooned over the bar.
Just when the match seemed like heading for a draw, NorthEast United won a penalty in the 89th minute after Jayesh Rane clattered into Sabrosa inside the danger zone. Sabrosa made no mistake from the spot.
In added time, NorthEast United FC made it 2-0 thanks to a lightning counter attack which Velez scored with remarkable ease past the onrushing Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper.