NorthEast United FC thrashed Churchill Brothers FC and qualified for the Hero Super Cup semi-finals in spectacular fashion. Wilmar Jordan Gil scored four goals. While Gani Nigam and Jithin MS each had one as the Highlanders won 6-3 in their last Group D game. It was on Wednesday at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala.
NorthEast United FC raced out of the blocks and put Churchill Brothers FC under pressure from the start. The energetic NEUFC captain made his first genuine opportunity in the 11th minute. Trying to chip over the keeper from the outside of the box, but he missed the target by a whisker.
Tondonba Singh floated an inswinging corner in the 19th minute. And Gil rose over his man, but his header went wide. Churchill Brothers FC goalie’ Nora Fernandes was called into action seconds later. As his defence failed to clear the ball twice. And the keeper was well-aware as he parried away Gil’s right-footed attempt.
The NEUFC captain eventually put his name on the scoresheet with a powerful shot into the top corner from 25 yards out as the clock struck 27 minutes. Joe Zoherliana almost increased the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side’s advantage, but his first-time shot was well stopped by the keeper.
Socking ending by NorthEast United
Gil tapped home into an empty net for the Highlanders’ second goal just before halftime.
With Churchill Brothers needing to send players forward for the equaliser, NorthEast United FC decided that offensive was the best form of defence, and they were correct. In the 51st minute, the Colombian attacker completed his hat-trick by stretching his leg at the near post to send Tondonba’s wonderful pass into the net.
Churchill Brothers FC equalised three minutes later by Kingslee Fernandes. Martin Chaves reduced the Goan side’s deficit even more with a fantastic free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.
Gil’s fourth goal of the match put the Highlanders up 4-2 with a clinical left-footed shot. NEUFC’s advantage was increased further. When Jithin MS and Gani Nigam of Kerala combined brilliantly inside the opposition’s final third. With the latter putting the finishing touch.
NEUFC defender Mohammed Irshad headed into his own goal to give Churchill Brothers FC their third goal of the match. However, the Highlanders recovered their three-goal advantage in stoppage time. When Jithin MS scored with a fantastic finish, and NorthEast United FC advanced to the Hero Super Cup semi-finals.
NorthEast United FC will now face Odisha FC in the Hero Super Cup’s second semi-final on Saturday.
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