ISL 2020-21 Highlights NorthEast United FC vs FC Goa: Points shared at the Tilak Maidan Stadium as NorthEast United FC came from behind twice to hold FC Goa to a 2-2 draw. The Gaurs took the lead on the 21st minute through Romario as he slotted home from a close range. However, their lead stayed for just about 20 minutes as Federico Gallego equalised for the Highlanders from the spot after Noguera tripped Luis Machado inside the box. Just like in the first half, NEUFC were the dominant side in the second and they could have taken the lead themselves but had no luck in front of the goal. Then on the 80th minute, FC Goa took the lead in the match against the run of play as Amarjit scored on his FCG debut. Then three minutes later, NEUFC won another penalty after Ashutosh Mehta was fouled inside the box. Gallega stepped up once again and he found the back of the net yet again. With this result, FC Goa rise to the third position in the points table pipping Hyderabad FC on the virtue of better goal difference. NEUFC, on the other hand, stay where they were. NEUFC, Hyderabad FC and FC Goa are tied on 22 points now.
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Back in contention for a playoff berth after a hat-trick of wins, a buoyant NorthEast United FC will look to enter the top four when they face FC Goa in an Indian Super League fixture on Thursday. The Highlanders had found themselves in the wrong half of the table and there was uncertainty surrounding their playoff hopes after the departure of Gerard Nus.
But three wins on the trot under interim coach Khalid Jamil has given them a new lease of life and they will hope to prove their credentials once again at the Tilak Maidan stadium. Both sides have accumulated 21 points after 14 games with fifth-placed NEUFC just below their opponents.
While NEUFC have been unbeaten in their last four games, Goa have not suffered a loss in their previous seven matches, making this an encounter to savour for the neutrals. "We have analysed them," said NEUFC assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew.
"We have to approach the game well, put our best effort and try to win." Under Jamil, NEUFC won have three matches in a row, a first for them. "I would like to give credit to coach Khalid, the technical director, the coaching staff and all the players who have done very well. We haven't changed anything," Kharsyntiew said.
"We have just strengthened our attacking and defensive principles and that's the only thing. We've been trying to play creative football." The two sides played out a 1-1 draw earlier in the season and Goa coach Juan Ferrando is expecting NEUFC to come hard at them.
"The (NorthEast) players are happy, they are enjoying every game, every minute," he said. "The ambience in their dressing room will be nice. They won the difficult games. The players are free on the pitch. They have gained a lot of positives." Goa will also miss the services of Edu Bedia (suspended) and Brandon Fernandes (injured), making their task difficult.
Ferrando admitted he's feeling the pressure of the playoff race. "I feel pressure all the time. It's good for the Indian league because more or less there is a difference of 3-4 points maximum between teams," he said. "It's good for us because we aren't relaxed. Every game is important and our mentality is to get the three points."