Second half substitute Nicolas Velez scored the winner as NorthEast United FC beat defending champions Atletico de Kolkata 1-0 in their Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati on Friday.
The nippy Argentine striker, who came into the field in the 63rd minute, scored for the second successive game to give the Highlanders their second straight win after losing three matches in a row.
After a goalless first half, Velez scored the only goal in the 77th minute.
With the win, NorthEast move up to sixth in the the table with six points.
Atletico de Kolkata suffered their second defeat in as many games after being the only team to remain unbeaten at the end of the fourth round. They have seven points from five matches.
The hosts had a spring in their steps early in the game and had the first chance in the 22nd minute when they appealed for a penalty after Rino Anto brought down Bruno Arias. The referee, however, adjudged that the foul was just outside the box.
Bruno lined-up to take the free kick but saw ATK goalkeeper Amrinder Singh dive to his left to keep away the curling attempt.
Six minutes later, Amrinder was called into action again as Reagan Singh’s volley from just outside the box was set for the top corner only for the goalkeeper to make a top-notch save.
Cesar Farias introduced Sanju Pradhan and Nicolas Velez in an ambitious double substitution in the 62nd minute and it worked for the hosts. In the 77th minute, Sanju’s shot was initially blocked by Arnab Mondal but the ball fell for Velez who did well to pick the far corner of the net.
The goal stunned Atletico de Kolkata and despite their attempts to claw their way back, NorthEast stood firm to run away winners in front of their home crowd.
Stopwatch: NorthEast United 1 (N Velez 77) bt Atletico de Kolkata 0
HOW THEY STAND
P W D L PTS GD
FC Goa 5 3 1 1 10 +1
FC Pune City 4 3 0 1 9 +3
Delhi Dynamos 5 3 0 2 9 -1
Atletico de Kolkata 5 2 1 2 7 0
Chennaiyin FC 5 2 0 3 6 +2
NorthEast United 5 2 0 3 6 -2
Kerala Blasters 5 1 1 3 4 -1
Mumbai City FC 4 1 1 2 4 -2