ITDC INDIA EPRESS/ITDC NEWS The race for the Indian Super League play-off berths took another twist as NorthEast United FC were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Chennaiyin FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Thursday.
Three teams—Hyderabad FC, FC Goa and NorthEast—are now tied on 27 points from 18 matches, intensifying the race for the last two play-off spots. ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC have already qualified for the play-offs.
When it looked like Chennaiyin would inflict a first defeat on NorthEast United this season, Luis Machado scored a stoppage-time equaliser to extend their unbeaten run to seven games.
Chennaiyin were in the lead through goals from Lallianzuala Chhangte (8th, 52nd) and Manuel Lanzarote (50th) while Imran Khan (14th) and Deshorn Brown (43rd) had replied for NorthEast.
Csaba Laszlo had made his intent to attack clear during the pre-match press conference and his side delivered early in the game with an eighth-minute lead.
After a miserable season in front of the goal, Chhangte finally found his scoring boots as he put Chennaiyin ahead. Jakub Sylvestr picked up Chhangte with an accurate pass from the left and the latter took a touch before firing past Subhasish Roy.
However, it took the Highlanders just six minutes to get back into the game. Luis Machado played a low cross which took a deflection and fell to Imran Khan, who headed in.
Chennaiyin were rescued by Kaith's brilliance when he came up with a double save to deny Machado and Brown from close in quick succession.