NorthEast United FC got their Durand Cup 2023 campaign off to a brilliant start as they registered a 4-0 win over Shillong Lajong in the North East derb.

Assam boy Parthib Gogoi netted his first hat trick at the senior level at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Friday while Romain Philippoteaux added the other goal for the Highlanders.

The Highlanders appeared the more organized side from the moment the referee blew his whistle and their upper hand in the game finally paid dividends in the 26th minute of the first half.

ALSO READ| Transfer Window Live Updates, August 4: Ousmane Dembele to PSG Confirmed; Robert Sanchez Leaves Brighton for Chelsea

Rochharzela turned his marker and made a run inside the top of the box to unleash a pile-driver which dipped under slippery ground conditions in front of Shillong keeper Neithovilie Chalieu. The custodian managed to parry it away feebly and it fell on a platter for a young and lurking Parthib Gogoi who deftly lobbed Chalieu to open the scoring.

That lead was doubled when Romain Philippoteaux drove in skillfully to send the Shillong defence in disarray, resulting in Kenstar bringing the Frenchman down inside the box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Romain made a mistake in finishing what he had begun.

With the score still reading 2-0 in favour of the Highlanders, Jithin MS, who came on in the second half, set up Parthib with a good cross five minutes post commencement, but the young striker’s attempt was straight at Chalieu.

Both coaches, Spaniard Juan Pedro Ben Ali and Shillong’s Bobby Lyngdoh kept ringing in the changes at the hour mark, but it was NEUFC which reaped the dividends, thanks to Parthib’s awareness inside the box and clinical finishing.

Phalguni Singh it was, who found the run of yet another substitute Gani Nigam on the right. Gani fended off his marker and found Parthib in the clear who tapped in for the third.

The local lad then completed his hattrick when Philippoteaux found Jithin with an impeccable through on the left flank and this time, Parthib made no mistake with the cross, sliding in to beat Chalieu for the third time himself and fourth time overall in the match.

To Shillong’s credit and has been their credo, they did not stop running and chasing the game and trying to pull one back, but there was nothing serious to challenge NEUFC keeper Mirshad and in the end it was a canter for the Highlanders.

The win will be crucial with FC Goa and Downtown Heroes of Kashmir coming up next for both the teams.

The game was preceded by an elaborate cultural programme and opening ceremony with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in attendance.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – IANS)

Source link