ISL: NorthEast United wants action against three Bengaluru FC players

PANAJI: NorthEast United FC are still coming to terms with the semifinal defeat against Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL). But more than the ouster, the club is seething in rage at their star player Federico Gallego's career-threatening injury.

Gallego had to be rushed to the hospital after he suffered multiple fractures to the shin bone as he took the brunt of Bengaluru striker Miku's full-blown kick. The NorthEast captain slided to take the ball away from Miku's legs in the 54th minute but ended up paying a heavy price. Miku's action, the club said, was an "intentional foul, with a clear intent to hurt Gallego."

"Gallego was repeatedly targeted during the entire game and there are multiple instances, which were ignored by the referee, which in turn further bolstered Bengaluru's bravado towards our players. However, we care for our player and plead for a fair trial against three specific players of Bengaluru FC, hoping that the game of football won't be let down," NUEFC director Priya Runchal wrote in her complaint to the AIFF commissioners and disciplinary committee.

The club has pointed an accusing finger at three rival players -- Miku, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chettri – and pointed out 18 specific instances where the Bengaluru players got away scot free.

"The unsportsman-like conduct and the overly aggressive tactics have injured five of our players. We plead with you to take strict action against these players and make it a safe playing environment for the future players," the club pleaded.

NorthEast United enjoyed a 2-1 advantage from their first-leg home battle against Bengaluru but suffered a 0-3 reverse at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in the second leg. Bengaluru won 4-2 on aggregate but significantly NorthEast were very much in the contest till Gallego's injury crippled them further.

"We have been once again deprived of fair decisions and especially feel let down by the esteemed committee for not taking strict measures and actions against the players of Bengaluru FC," said the club.

Bengaluru will now face FC Goa in the final on Sunday.