IMPORTANT UPDATE: NorthEast United FC will play Bengaluru FC in Guwahati on December 18 with a 6pm kick-off. The match will be open for spectators, tickets for which are available online as well as at the Box-Office.
In a revised statement released to the media on December 17 evening, the league authorities said that the match will not be a closed door affair, as it was earlier notified.
“The Hero Indian Super League Match 40 at Guwahati between NorthEast United FC and Bengaluru FC is now open to spectators, with 6:00 pm kick-off. Spectators are advised to take note of the new kick-off time and plan their arrival to the stadium accordingly. Gates will be opened at 4pm,” the revised statement said.
NorthEast United FC was supposed to play their Indian Super League match against Bengaluru FC behind closed doors in Guwahati on December 18.
“The decision has been taken by Football Sports Development Limited after due consultation and guidance from the city (Guwahati) authorities. The league holds safety of fans, players and staff of paramount importance, which has led to this decision,” a league statement informed.
Guwahati and several parts of Assam has seen widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act which led to imposition of curfew in many areas of the state.
NEUFC’s last home game against Chennaiyin FC was postponed on December 12 due to the ongoing situation in the region. ISL organizers had informed that the match will now be played in the later stage of the league.
Speaking before the media on December 17, NorthEast United coach Robert Jarni said that his team is focussed. “There was not much of an impact on our training. We did skip a few sessions some 4-5 days back, but we have been training well since then. We as a team are focused on our job and we hope to give our best tomorrow against Bengaluru FC,” Jarni said.
Quizzed about the match being played closed doors – where even the accredited media will not be given entry – the head coach said that it will not be an advantage for any team. “With no fans, football will be at loss. Not an advantage for Bengaluru…we will miss our fans,” he said.
NorthEast United will miss their star player Asamoah Gyan against Bengaluru FC on December 18. Gyan was forced to walk off the field during their last match against ATK at home on December 7. “Yes, Gyan is not playing tomorrow. He will be fit for the next match,” the coach said.
While NorthEast United will miss their fans and marquee player Asamoah Gyan, the Highlanders will be wary of their chances against Bengaluru whom they played brilliantly during the start of the season. “We did take home a point from Bengaluru…but a wounded lion is always dangerous,” Jarni cautioned.
NEUFC are sitting at the 5th position in the Hero ISL table with 10 points from 7 games.