NorthEast United FC kept their hopes of qualifying to the playoffs stage of the Indian Super League alive after bagging a 3-2 victory in their final league game of the season this year in Guwahati.
Cesar Farias' men now move up to the fourth position once again with 20 points. Saturday's game between Pune and Chennai now decides whether North East do become the fourth team to make it to the semis this year.
Meanwhile, FC Pune City failed to record an away win in the ISL this year.
Handing a start to Nico Velez proved wonders for Cesar Farias as the Argentine striker used the best of his goalpoaching abilities to give the home side the lead in the 4th minute of play. A wonderful combination from NorthEast United FC saw Victor Mendy pull the ball back from the flank for Velez inside the box, and the Argentine's delightful chip on goal made the difference.
The lead didn't last too long as James Bailey slotted a curling ball into the net to get the equaliser at the 8th minute. Jackichand Singh remained the mastermind, as the Indian forward's pass found Didier Zokora outside, and the experienced Ivorian could only square it to the unmarked Bailey, whose shot got a slight touch from Rehenesh, but ultimately, blasted the net.
The goal festival was just starting to begin as Diomansy Kamara gave the hosts the lead once again in the 18th minute. Velez turned out to be the assist this time, as the Argentine crossed the ball from the left flank to pick out the former West Brom striker and Kamara didn't make any mistake in slotting the ball past Arindam Bhattacharya.
Andre Bikey got the third goal of the night for NorthEast United FC in the 43rd minute, as he rose the tallest inside the box to head in a wonderful free-kick taken by Bruno Arias.
The home side made their intent clear in the first half that they were going all out to playing their part in a hope to make it to the semis of the ISL this year, and that momentum continued even in the second half. The defence became more resolute as the visitors started the half with a bang to bridge the deficit of goals.
Romanian hotshot and FC Pune City marquee player Adrian Mutu had a go on goal on a couple of occasions, but he couldn't come successful. Not only Mutu, but also Lalrempuia Fanai and Yendrick Ruiz pulled the trigger on many occasions, but the shots never really remained on target.
The Romanian did see finally his immense work in the half bore fruit, as his curler from a free-kick in the 86th minute, found the back of the net. Mutu wanted to seal the deal and snatch a point from the game as he attempted one last free-kick at the death, but his effort saw the ball hit the wall.
Catch the highlights from the game HERE.