Seiminlen Doungel scored the first ever hat-trick for NorthEast United as the hosts outplayed Chennaiyin FC 3-1 in an entertaining Indian Super League match here on Friday.
Doungel scored in the 42nd, 46th and 68th minutes to hand NorthEast United their biggest win in this edition of the ISL. The 24-year-old from Manipur also became the first Indian player to score a hat-trick this edition.
Anirudh Thapa pulled one back for Chennaiyin in the 79th minute but by then the match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium had tilted heavily in favour of the Northeastern side.
Despite the win, their second victory at home and third overall so far, NorthEast United remained at ninth spot in the 10-team league table with 10 points from 10 matches.
Chennaiyin remained on second spot with 20 points from 11 matches.
NorthEast United had lost 0-3 against Chennaiyin FC in Chennai earlier in their first-leg clash but Doungel turned the tables with a superb performance. The Northeast side tore the Chennaiyin's defence to shreds to avenge their first-leg defeat.
NorthEast United had scored just four goals in their nine matches prior to this clash against Chennaiyin and it looked like they would draw a blank again.
Initially, there was urgency but no direction to the home team's attack and most moves fizzled out before reaching the danger zone.
Chennaiyin too were not in their elements, although there were a couple of half-chances.
The home team, though, were rewarded for their efforts in the 42nd minute as Doungel made the first attempt on goal count.
A ball just outside the box from Reagan Singh saw Doungel chest it back to Cezario. The striker weaved his way past two markers and fired a shot which Chennaiyin goalkeeper Karanjit Singh did not collect cleanly and Doungel slotted it home from close range.
Nineteen seconds into the start of second session, NorthEast United and Doungel were celebrating again with their second goal. A through ball from Danilo Lopes saw Doungel get to the end of it and finish it past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Doungel then made it a special night by scoring his hat-trick in the 68th minute when he gave finishing touches to a square pass from Holicharan Narzary.
Chennaiyin FC, unbeaten for five matches, were stunned. Anirudh Thapa pulled a goal back in the 79th minute with a brilliant volley.