Guwahati, August 20,2023: NorthEast United FC seal their place in the quarter-finals of the Durand Cup 2023 with a blistering 3-1 victory over Downtown Heroes FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, in Guwahati, on Sunday.
The Highlanders put up a dominant display in the second half to secure a comeback win. Goals from Ibson Melo, Romain Philippoteaux & Parthib Gogoi helped the Highlanders become the second team to progress from Group D.
Juan Pedro Benali made six changes to his side from the 2-2 draw with FC Goa, handing starts to Ibson Melo & Nestor Albiach with Romain captaining the side. A sluggish start followed for the hosts & they fell behind to an opportunistic goal by Parvaj Bhuiya early in eight minutes.
FULL-TIME | #NEUFCDHFC
— NorthEast United FC (@NEUtdFC) August 20, 2023
NorthEast United FC struggled to create concrete chances and ended the first half trailing 1-0. The gaffer rung in the changes ahead of the second half with Parthib Gogoi, Phalguni Singh & Dinesh Singh coming on. And the game turned on its head within the first seven minutes of the restart.
Ibson netted the equaliser from close range in the 48th minute and four minutes later Romain danced his way into the box and slammed home into the bottom corner to put the Highlanders ahead. NEUFC continued to dominate the half and the three points were sealed when Parthib emulated Romain in the 78th minute and showed excellent composure to score his fourth of the tournament.
With this result, NorthEast United FC have accumulated seven points from their three group stage matches and will advance to the quarter-finals as one of the top two second-placed teams.