Tomi Juric scored twice as NorthEast United moved into the top six of the Indian Super League (ISL) table with a 3-2 win over East Bengal in Guwahati on Saturday. In the first match of the day, in the double header, Juric (4th, 66th) and Nestor Albiach (15th) scored for the host team, while Nandkumar Sekar (53rd) and Felicio Brown Forbes (82nd) scored for East Bengal. The home side looked keen to stamp their authority on proceedings from the start, particularly looking to respond to the 5-0 defeat they suffered in Salt Lake against the Red and Gold Brigade in December.
Spanish attacking talisman Nestor Albia was at the forefront, scoring the second goal before Juric scored the first after 15 minutes of the match.
In the fourth minute, Nestor laid a through ball for Juric which Juric only tapped into the net to open the scoring.
However, the second goal was even more impressive, with the Highlanders taking advantage of the high line adopted by the East Bengal defence.
Juan Pedro Benali's side quickly counter-attacked, with Redim Tlang splitting the visitors with a sharp assist, which Nestor got on the end and doubled the lead.
Those dynamic plays suggested the Highlanders meant business and helped them go into the break with a two-goal lead.
East Bengal emerged as an energetic unit after the break and hit back with a move similar to Nestor's strike.
It was Clitan Silva who helped the team break through NorthEast United's backline with a through ball for Sekar in the 53rd minute.
Sekar has made many such deliveries for the Brazilian this season and Silva retaliated by helping the former Odisha FC striker reduce the deficit with a good finish.
Just 13 minutes later, Juric fired a powerful shot from the left edge of the box, whose effort beat a wide-stretched Prabsukhan Singh Gill and helped give the Highlanders their third goal of the game.
Silva seemed eager to get something from the match, and he actively dribbled inside the box before shooting with his left foot.
Forbes hit back from close range, but the effort was not enough to secure them a point from the encounter.
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