A referee mistake – not unheard in the Indian Super League – cost NorthEast United a 0-1 defeat against Bengaluru FC in a tightly contested match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on October 8.
Bengaluru FC’s central defender Alan Costa was the scorer for them, heading in from a corner in the 87th minute as both teams switched to attacking shapes towards the end of a game that was 0-0 for the most part.
Shortly after Costa’s goal in the 87th minute, Jon Gaztanaga struck a shot from outside the box in injury time to beat Gurpreet Singh Sandhu at his near post. But as he ran off in celebration, the goal was ruled out. As the players and staff gathered around the referee following that overturning, NorthEast United FC head coach Marcos Balbul was given a red card.
The end of the game had a different pace from the first half, which saw both teams finding chances to take the lead, with neither being able to break the deadlock. The home team dominated possession in the first half, with 57% of the ball turning into five shots at goal, but only one of them on target.
🏁ROBBED ON ROAD🏁
Game of nearlies for the Highlanders;
will bounce back stronger!❤️🤍🖤
— Highlander Brigade (@HighlanderB8) October 8, 2022
Bengaluru FC’s best chance in the first half came in the 13th minute, when left-back Naorem Roshan Singh picked up the ball and surged forward to square it for an unmarked Siva in the box, whose first-time shot missed the far post narrowly.
NorthEast United FC were reliant on a counter attacking style and had their best opportunity of the first half when Jithin MS managed to get past Prabir Das on the left wing in the 17th minute. Jithin found a path into the box but dragged his effort wide of the near post in a one-on-one situation.
This changed quickly as the game headed into the final 20 minutes. In search of a goal, the home team changed their formation, taking Aleksandar Jovanovic off to bring on Udanta Singh with four defenders at the back.
Almost immediately after that substitution, NorthEast United FC had back-to-back chances in quick succession to go ahead, but couldn’t make Gurpreet Singh Sandhu work. At the other end, Udanta also lifted a shot over from the edge of the box.
This was the start of a frantic end to the game, where both teams started putting each other to the test with end-to-end football. Romain Philippoteaux was at the centre of many of these attacks for NorthEast United FC. His biggest chance came in between Alan Costa’s goal and Gaztanaga’s goal being overruled.
Parthib Gogoi‘s shot in injury time from the right edge of the box deflected off the post into Philippoteaux’s path at the far post. The winger managed to compose himself, get past the defender in his vicinity and set himself up a few yards in front of a wide goal with only Sandhu in his way. However, he couldn’t apply the finishing touches and the ball went wide of the far post.