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We deserved three points: NorthEast United FC head coach Vincenzo Annese

Kolkata, Feb 9 (IANS) NorthEast United FC head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese felt his side deserved all three points as they shared spoils with East Bengal FC in a thrilling 3-3 draw in the latest fixture of Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, here.

Despite a flurry of attacks from NorthEast United FC in the opening stages of the game, it was East Bengal FC who drew first blood in the game, thanks to a clinical header by Cleiton Silva. At the half-hour mark, Parthib Gogoi levelled the scores for the visitors with a thunderous volley. And three minutes later, Jithin MS finished off a brilliant move to make it 2-1 for the Highlanders.

East Bengal FC’s new signing Jake Jervis scored his first goal for the club with an acrobatic volley in the first-half stoppage time and made it 2-2, heading into the break. Cleiton Silva drove the home team ahead again at the hour mark from the penalty spot. But substitute Imran Khan spoiled the party for the Torch Bearers with the equalizing goal in the 85th minute.

Both teams remain at the same spots where they began Matchweek 19. The Highlanders won their first away point of the season, while East Bengal FC registered their first draw of the campaign. Annese felt they deserved more from this game but seemed very satisfied with the performance of his players.

“We showed everybody that NorthEast United FC are a quality team and they play in attacking phases,” Annese said in the post-match press conference.

“We have done well in our attack, but we needed to score more goals,” he added.

The Highlanders have somewhat turned their fortunes since the arrival of their new coach. They have earned five points in ten games under Annese. The NorthEast United FC head coach also believes his players are performing much better in his tenure than what they did before his arrival.

“I’ve started to change the mentality of the players because before they used to sit deep on the back, try and defend the result. Now we are much more compact, we press forward. Everybody in my team can score goals,” stated Annese.

NorthEast United FC started the game brilliantly, creating two clear-cut chances in the opening five minutes. They continued to create chances throughout the game and had six shots on target, more than East Bengal FC. Annese stated that they were much better than their opponents and were actually looking like the team that deserves the three points.

“We really deserved something from the game. We deserved three points. I only saw counter-attacks from East Bengal FC. We’re even better possession-wise,” he said.
French midfielder Romain Philippoteaux was subbed off in the 70th minute due to a knock, but Annese remained hopeful of his availability in the next game.

“We need to see (about his injury). I hope we will available for the next game. We need him and Jordan (Gil) for the remaining games. I hope Emil Benny recovers as well,” he concluded.