NorthEast United star Nicolas Velez has taken to social media to thank the fans for "supporting and believing" in the team and apologizing for falling short of making it to the playoffs. NorthEast needed a win in their last match in Kochi to qualify, but the highlanders could only muster a draw.
A 1-0 defeat at the hands of Kerala Blasters was the last nail in NorthEast United's coffin as they finished fifth on the table for a second season running, missing out on the semi-finals by four points. The Highlanders needed a win to qualify for the playoffs but succumbed to a devastating defeat courtesy of a CK Vineeth goal.
In the match against Kerala, NorthEast missed the services of their Argentine striker Nicolas Velez, who had limped off the field in their previous match. The Argentine had earlier kept the team in the running for a playoff spot with his two crucial equalisers in the match against Chennaiyin FC. Velez was left devastated following the defeat and used Facebook to tell his fans about his anguish.
"For the fans who ask why I did not play today, I tried until the last moment. I went out to the field to warm up with my team-mates but I still felt pain and that's why I could not be available. I just have to thank all my team-mates who gave their everything