HomeSportsISL: Punjab FC ride Wilmar Jordan's penalty strike against NorthEast United FC

ISL: Punjab FC ride Wilmar Jordan’s penalty strike against NorthEast United FC

ISL 2024: A second-half penalty from Wilmar Jordan Gil ensured Punjab FC secured an impressive win in the crucial encounter against NorthEast United FC in Round 18 of the Indian Super League 2023-24 season which was played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.

With this win, Punjab FC jumped to ninth position in the ISL table and are only a single point behind Bengaluru FC who occupy the final playoff spot. This is also the third straight victory for Punjab away from home and the fourth win in six matches, continuing their good run of form.

Punjab FC Head Coach Staikos Vergetis named an unchanged side from their last game against Mumbai City with the in-form trio of Luka Majcen, Madih Talal and Wilmar Jordan leading the attack line. NorthEast United FC Head Coach Juan Pedro Benali named his starting 11 in a 4-4-2 formation.

Punjab started the match extremely well, pressing hard and winning the ball in the midfield. They maintained possession and created the better chances with Luka Majcen skying his shot over the crossbar, missing a chance to take an early lead and later Wilmar Jordan’s shot was palmed away by goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh to safety.

The midfielders Ricky Shabong and Madih Talal were combining well and creating space for Majcen and Jordan to create trouble in the NorthEast box, but The Highlanders’ defence were up to the task to keep them on bay.

At the other end, Jithin M.S, Phalguni Singh and Parthib Gogoi were creating chances through counterattacks with their speed. Parthib had a chance from one such move but his shot was straight to goalkeeper Ravi Kumar. The rest of the half saw a heated battle between both sides in the midfield for possession but there were no clearcut chances as the half ended in a stalemate.

NorthEast started the second half on the front foot taking the attack to Punjab but the away side soaked in the pressure and defended well. As the home side were trying to increase the pressure, on the other end Wilmar Jordan earned a penalty as his cross was handled inside the box by left wing back Tondonba Singh. The Colombian calmly converted the spot kick to give the lead to The Shers.

The home side could have equalized in the very next attack through a good team move, but Nestor Roger’s effort just flew past the post. Punjab were defending deep inviting the pressure from the home side, but kept their shape and defended well. Dimitrios Chatziisaias made a goal-saving clearance as NorthEast thought they had found the equalizer. Nestor rounded Punjab goalkeeper Ravi Kumar and cut back a ball to Redeem Tlang who was completely free inside the six-yard box, but Dimitrios’s acrobatics took the ball away from the forward. Punjab FC defended extremely well to maintain the lead and secure all three points.

Dimitrios Chatziisaias received the Player of the Match award for his brilliant defensive performance. With three teams locked on the same points in seventh, eighth and ninth, the race for the playoffs is heating up.

Punjab FC jumped to ninth position in the table with 20 points from 18 matches while NorthEast United FC remained at eighth with 20 points from 18 matches. Punjab FC will face FC Goa on March 11th at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.