‘We got our chances,’ says Khalid Jamil as ISL fairytale ends for NorthEast United

NorthEast United bowed out of ISL 2020-21 following their 2-1 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the semi-final.

By Naveen Peter

Indian coach Kahlid Jamil’s fairytale run in the Indian Super League (ISL) came to an end on Tuesday after NorthEast United FC’s 2-1 loss to ATK Mohun Bagan in the second leg of their semi-final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

Having held the Mariners to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, NorthEast United came into the match high on confidence but found it hard to break the ATKMB backline. Khalid Jamil blamed wasted chances for the narrow second leg defeat.

ATK Mohun Bagan sneaked ahead with a David Williams goal in the 38th minute while Indian striker Manvir Singh doubled the lead in the 68th minute. Suhair scored the only goal for NorthEast United. 

ATK Mohun Bagan will face the ISL League Shield Winners, Mumbai City FC for the title on March 13.

Having taken over the Highlanders in January, Khalid Jamil enjoyed a phenomenal run in ISL 2020-21. The loss on Tuesday was his first in 12 matches, a run that saw NEUFC make the semi-finals despite reeling at the lower end of the ISL league table at the turn of the year.

Khalid Jamil hoped that his performance would see ISL teams give Indian coaches a chance in the near future. 

“The foreign coaches are good, but the Indian coaches are capable. We have many good coaches, they only need a chance and they can prove themselves,” Khalid said at the post-match press conference.

“In the first half, ATKMB played very well. I think there was miscommunication among my players but we solved this problem. In the second half, we played better. We got our chances. I am proud of the players, they worked very hard,” Khalid said.

Meanwhile, the ATKMB head coach Antonio Lopez Habas was all praise for his opponents.

“NorthEast United FC had a fantastic season. They are a difficult team,” the Spaniard said. “They have strong players in attack and defence and the central midfield. I think that we were superior, we were better and we deserved the victory.

“We had good character. This is more important when the team is not playing well. There are a lot of things in football, and one of them is character and intensity and my team had that,” Habas summed up his team’s performance.

Lead photo: ISL Media