Borja Herrera in the 14th minute scored the first goal in the big that took East Bengal to eight points from two wins and two draws in seven matches.
Having struggled in the 2022-23 season as they finished ninth among 11 teams, the Red & Gold Brigade seemed to trust the process being implemented by head coach Carles Cuadrat ever since he took over the reins in the summer.
From runners-up finish in the Durand Cup to a strong start to the season, things looked hunky-dory for East Bengal FC initially. However, that purple patch hit a roadblock soon after, with the team succumbing to successive close draws as they dropped to the lower half of the points table.
Heading into this match against the Highlanders, East Bengal FC had not won a league match for over two months. However, things turned around in superb fashion on Monday.
From a sensational long-range strike by Borja Herrera in the 14th minute to a brilliant brace by Cleiton Silva, the home side were flawless in their build-up and clinical in their finishes. Yet, it were the twin strikes by substitute Nandhakumar Sekar that stole the show on Monday night.
Nandhakumar had always been an impressive talent, but the vigour and sharpness with which he has been operating this season has Cuadrat’s impact on it. He had assisted both goals scored by Naorem Mahesh Singh this season, but in this match, the latter ended up setting the two strikes by Nandhakumar.
Nandhakumar netted twice, and assisted once, in addition to making three crosses and creating two goal-scoring opportunities to cap off one of the most memorable performances off the bench by any player this season.
East Bengal FC will next host Punjab FC on December 9, whereas NorthEast United FC will square off against Hyderabad FC in Guwahati the next day.
–Ajit Weekly News
News Credits – I A N S