ANI Photo | Team executed game plan against Chennaiyin FC: NorthEast United coach Juan Benali

NorthEast United FC head coach Juan Pedro Benali expressed his satisfaction with his team’s performance against Chennaiyin FC as they secured their first victory of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday.
While both teams had several opportunities throughout the game, it was NorthEast United FC that demonstrated clinical finishing. Goals from Parthib Gogoi, Phalguni Singh, and Asheer Akhtar secured the win for the Highlanders, who bounced back after their initial defeat to Mumbai City FC. In contrast, Chennaiyin FC suffered their second consecutive loss and are yet to secure any points this season.
Reflecting on the outcome, Benali acknowledged that the match was a challenging one and praised his players’ performances.
“It was tough, more than what the score shows us. It’s not only Phalguni and Parthib, but all players were strong defensively. The midfield worked a lot. Nestor (Albiach) gave us a lot of options in the front. Manvir (Singh), the full-backs, and Mirshad (Michu) were great. All the players, who went out and came in (also performed well). It was a good performance. They executed the game plan as we practised and trained,” Benali said in the post-match press conference as quoted by ISL. 
NorthEast United FC not only secured their first win of the season but also achieved a clean sheet against a formidable Chennaiyin FC side. In the previous season, the Highlanders managed only one clean sheet. Benali dismissed concerns about his team’s defence, given the number of chances created by Chennaiyin FC in the match.
“We were playing against a good team. We were playing against very good players, international players with a lot of experience. They need to create chances. It’s very difficult to have a team in front of you and (that) they do not care about anything. We had more possession, but football is not perfect. A game is made up of a lot of small games (situations). Every minute there’s a game and you need to win most of those. When you win most of those games, you win at the end,” Benali said.
“Chennaiyin FC have some great players in the middle and the wings. They arrived (in the box). In the opening 15 minutes, they created more chances and we were not stable. Suddenly, we corrected the marking and the game went better,” he added.

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