That's all we have in the Indian Super League. It was the final game at the Tilak Maidan this season and NorthEast United triumph. Coverage brought to you by Nived Zenith. Make sure you tune in again tomorrow!
Kerala Blasters end their campaign with the bitter taste of defeat. A forgetful season for the club, who have failed to deliver the goods yet again. Who will step up again next season to take on the most difficult job in Indian football? Time will tell, but for now it is farewell.
The Khalid Jamil revolution at NorthEast United continues to roll on. The Highlanders have qualified for the playoffs for only the second time in their history with a commanding win over Kerala Blasters. Excellent display throughout, well deserved in the end. VP Suhair opened the scoring before Apuia doubled the advantage at the stroke of half time with his outrageous long range strike.
PEEEP! PEEEEP! PEEEEEEEP! FULL TIME: NORTHEAST UNITED 2-0 KERALA BLASTERS
Hero of the match: Lalengmawia (Apuia) of NorthEast United for his excellent display capped off with a phenomenal goal.
[90+1'] CHANGE FOR NORTHEAST UNITED: VP Suhair OFF, Ashutosh Mehta ON
[90'] FOUR MINUTES ADDED ON by the fourth official at the Tilak Maidan.
[85'] SHOT INTO THE SIDE-NETTING! - Federico Gallego releases Deshorn Brown with a delicate through ball there. Kerala Blasters custodian Albino Gomes races off his line to try and smother the ball, but Brown rounds him. Although the NorthEast United striker got his shot away quickly from the narrow angle, the effort has crashed into the side-netting as Kerala Blasters survive again.
CHANGE FOR KERALA BLASTERS: Rahul KP OFF, Seityasen Singh ON
[78'] DRINKS BREAK: NorthEast United 2-0 Kerala Blasters; Khalid Jamil's NorthEast United are inching closer to booking their berth in the playoffs. The Highlanders could've extended their lead further, but Deshorn Brown's effort cannoned off the woodwork. Seems like there is no way back for Kerala Blasters. About 12 minutes and added time left at the Tilak Maidan.
[72'] CORNER TO KERALA BLASTERS! - Vicente Gomez unleashes a free-kick on goal, but his effort has taken a touch off the NorthEast United wall and flies above the cross-bar. Kerala Blasters are unable to cause trouble from the resulting corner in the end after a poor delivery.
[65'] FOUL, YELLOW CARD! - NorthEast United midfielder Britto has received a booking for a foul. The referee allowed play to continue with the advantage, but returns to book the player after the ball went out of play eventually.
[63'] DOUBLE CHANGE FOR NORTHEAST UNITED: Luis Machado and Imran Khan OFF, Federico Gallego and Britto PM ON
SUBSTITUTION FOR KERALA BLASTERS: Costa Nhamoinesu OFF, Lalthathanga Khawlhring (Puitea) ON
[59'] OFF THE WOODWORK! - Deshorn Brown has crashed his effort into the cross-bar. The NorthEast United striker checked back from the left side of the penalty area and aimed his shot towards the far top corner. Unfortunately for him, the effort has cannoned off the woodwork and stays out.
[57'] INJURY CONCERNS! - Kerala Blasters defender Costa Nhamoinesu looks unlikely to continue and has walked off the field of play with an injury. The replacement is being arranged on the bench.
[55'] MACHADO FIRES IT AT THE KEEPER! - Luis Machado races inside the Kerala Blasters penalty area from the left flank. The Portuguese then checks back onto his right foot before unleashing a shot on goal. However, the effort from the NorthEast United winger is straight to Kerala Blasters custodian Albino Gomes, who smothers it by holding on well.
[51'] SHOT FIRED OVER! - Jordan Murray knocks a cross into the path of Rahul KP with his head, but the Kerala Blasters winger has fired his volley over the cross-bar. No problems whatsoever for NorthEast United there.
CHANGE FOR KERALA BLASTERS: Bakary Kone OFF, Juande ON
[46'] PEEEEEP! WE'RE BACK LIVE! - NorthEast United get us underway in the second half, the Highlanders are playing from right to left in their all-red attire and hoping to see out the game to book their place in the playoffs.
Live action from the second half coming your way on the other side, stay tuned!
Barring a remarkable comeback from the Kerala Blasters, NorthEast United should be safely in to the playoffs. We witnessed Bengaluru FC produce two goals after a forgetful first half yesterday against Jamshedpur, can Kerala Blasters replicate their rivals' performance? The fans will certainly be hoping so considering it is the club's final 45 minutes of football for the season.
Kerala Blasters have been shell-shocked just before the interval. Although they had shot themselves in the foot with slack defending while conceding the opening goal to VP Suhair, there was still hope. However, that sensational strike from distance from Apuia has changed the complexion of the game massively. One of the finest goals we've seen all season, take a bow Lalengmawia from Mizoram!
PEEEEP! PEEEEEEP! HALF TIME: NORTHEAST UNITED 2-0 KERALA BLASTERS
[45+2'] GOOOOOOOAAAL, WHAT A HIT SON! - Apuia has produced a sensational finish to double the advantage for NorthEast United. The midfielder receives the ball about 40 yards away from goal and skips past his man before pushing slightly forward. Instead of opting to dribble further, Apuia puts his foot through the ball and it crashes into the back of the net off the underside of the cross-bar. Spectacular effort and NorthEast are in cruise control. 2-0!
[45'] THREE MINUTES ADDED ON by the fourth official at the Tilak Maidan
As things stand, NorthEast United have one foot in the playoffs. Khalid Jamil thanked the heavens as soon as the opening goal was scored, but he knows they must not let complacency seek in. The immediate message to his players will be to get to the half time interval without conceding an equaliser.
[34'] GOOOOOAAAAAL, SUHAIR STRIKES! - Shortly after the drinks break, NorthEast United have taken the lead. Khassa Camara slipped a ball in behind for VP Suhair, who rounded the Kerala Blasters shot-stopper Albino Gomes with a slice of luck alongside his skill, and he made no mistake to tuck it away calmly. Question marks over the defending by Kerala Blasters, but that isn't a surprise anymore. 1-0 to NorthEast.
[32'] DRINKS BREAK: NorthEast United 0-0 Kerala Blasters; The sides are yet to break the deadlock at Tilak Maidan. NorthEast United defender Dylan Fox flashed a shot wide of the target before Bakary Kone planted his free-header over the cross-bar for Kerala Blasters. No other clear-cut chances for either side.
Luis Machado has not lived up to the expectations with his delivery and Sandeep Singh clears it away from danger for Kerala Blasters.
[26'] FOUL ON SUHAIR! - The NorthEast United forward is clipped from behind by Rahul KP during a counter-attack. The Kerala Blasters youngster has escaped a booking, but NorthEast have an opportunity to send in a good free-kick into the area.
Kerala Blasters were unable to force the initiative from successive corners there. Disappointing outcome for the side.
SUBSTITUTION FOR NORTHEAST: Provat Lakra OFF, Gurjinder Kumar ON
[18'] SHOT BLOCKED! - Prasanth races past Provat Lakra, who seems to have pulled a hamstring, on the right flank before checking back inside the area. The Kerala Blasters winger decides to take a shot on goal, but is hurried by NorthEast United and he feeds it to Jordan Murray, who goes for goal. Unfortunately, the shot is blocked and Kerala Blasters have a free-kick. Lakra will not be able to continue as well.
[13'] CROSS TOO HEAVY! - Camara feeds the ball out wide for Imran Khan. The NorthEast United midfielder wraps his foot around the ball to whip in a cross towards Deshorn Brown, but the delivery is too deep and has too much on it as it peters out of play for a goal-kick to Kerala Blasters.
[7'] KONE MISSES THE TARGET! - The first notable move for Kerala Blasters wins them a corner. Captain Jessel Carneiro delivers an excellent ball and Bakary Kone peels away from his marker and has the space for a free header. However, the Kerala Blasters defender has somehow failed to find the back of the net from close-range, golden opportunity wasted. NorthEast United breathe a collective sigh of relief.
[5'] AUDACIOUS ATTEMPT, FLIES OVER! - Kerala Blasters shot-stopper Albino Gomes has sliced his attempted clearance to an opponent. Imran Khan brings the ball down and attempts to go for goal straightaway since Albino was off his line, but the NorthEast United midfielder is unable to keep his shot down. The ball was rising even as it went over the cross-bar.
[2'] SHOT FLASHED WIDE! - Costa Nhamoinesu clears away an early NorthEast United corner, but Khassa Camara picks up the pieces and sprays it wide for Luis Machado. The NorthEast United winger has delivered an excellent cross towards the far post, but Dylan Fox has stabbed his attempt wide of the target. Big early chance for NorthEast, but it comes to nothing in the end.
[1'] PEEEEEP! WE'RE UNDERWAY! - Kerala Blasters kick-off proceedings in the first half, they are playing from right to left in their white third kit.
Both sets of players disperse after the national anthem and make a quick pose for the customary team photo. Captains Subhasish Roy and Jessel Carneiro will now meet for the coin toss.
Now NorthEast United follow their counterparts onto the lush green grass at Tilak Maidan, the Highlanders are donning their all-red attire for the clash.
Kerala Blasters are the first team walking out of the tunnel, they are in their white third kit for their final game of the season.
Deshorn Brown [Striker, NorthEast United]: "We will stick to our same plan and to our same attitude. Doesn't matter if it is just a point or three, nothing changes [in terms of the mentality]. Kerala Blasters will not hand it straightaway to us, but we're prepared to fight and earn [the result we need]."
TICK TOCK! - Exactly 30 minutes remaining for KICK-OFF at the Tilak Maidan. The clock is ticking, run along and put the finishing touches on your FANTASY XI.
SUBHA GHOSH ON THE BENCH! - The young forward, who was the subject of a transfer saga, is finally on the bench after getting clearance from AIFF. Kerala Blasters also have Seityasen Singh, Juande and Lalthathanga Khawlhring (Puitea) among others as substitutes.
SANDEEP RETURNS! - Defender Sandeep Singh is restored into the Kerala Blasters line-up and he is the only change from the previous game. Sahal Abdul Samad is unavailable for selection after picking up an injury. Gary Hooper and Jordan Murray start at the top and will be aided by local boys Prasanth K and Rahul KP on either flanks.
Kerala Blasters FC XI: Albino Gomes (GK); Sandeep Singh, Bakary Kone, Costa Nhamoinesu, Jessel Carneiro, Prasanth K, Jeakson Singh, Vicente Gomez, Rahul KP, Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray
Subs: Muheet Khan (GK); Lalruatthara, Denechandra Meitei, Seityasen Singh, Givson Singh, Ayush Adhikari, Juande, Lalthathanga Khawlhring (Puitea), Subha Ghosh
OPTIONS! - NorthEast United have named the likes of Federico Gallego, Ashutosh Mehta, Idrissa Sylla and Ninthoinganba Meetei among others as substitutes on the bench.
NO CHANGES! - You wouldn't fix something that isn't broken and Khalid Jamal has opted for the same side that beat East Bengal. Nim Dorjee and Provat Lakra retain their places as full-backs, while Imran Khan also keeps his place in midfield. VP Suhair scored in the last game and will be aided by Deshorn Brown and Luis Machado in attack.
NorthEast United XI: Subhasish Roy (GK); Provat Lakra, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Nim Dorjee, Lalengmawia (Apuia), Khassa Camara, Imran Khan, VP Suhair, Deshorn Brown, Luis Machado
Subs: Gurmeet (GK); Gurjinder Kumar, Ashutosh Mehta, Mashoor Shereef, Federico Gallego, Lalrempuia Fanai, Ninthoinganba Meetei, Idrissa Sylla, Britto PM
The TEAM NEWS will arrive shortly. We shall chalk out the finer details when we receive the update from both sides on their respective line-ups.
Like many teams over the last few days, the Kerala Blasters also have nothing but pride to play for. The club has disappointed their loyal fans yet again and the management will know it is starting to become a recurring theme. During the reverse fixture against NorthEast, Kerala Blasters squandered a 2-0 lead before sharing the points. It has been the story of their season, the defence has looked porous all throughout and might need a solid rebuild, yet again.
Khalid Jamil has remarkably turned the tables for NorthEast United. The Highlanders are still unbeaten under his tutelage and secured 2-1 win over 10-man East Bengal in their last outing. If they avoid defeat against Kerala Blasters tonight, NorthEast will become the third team to qualify for the playoffs after ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC.
THE FINAL HURDLE! - NorthEast United are within touching distance of the Indian Super League playoffs, but Kerala Blasters stand in their way. Our focus is at the Tilak Maidan, where the Highlanders could seal their entry into the knockout stages by the end of proceedings. For the Kerala Blasters, it is an opportunity to play spoilsport and sign off from their forgetful campaign with a win. LETS FOOTBALL!