ISL 2020-21: FC Goa Under Further Pressure after Draw with NorthEast United FC
FC Goa were held to a draw by NorthEast United FC. (Photo Credit: ISL Media)
NorthEast United extended their unbeaten run to three games after frustrating FC Goa in a 1-1 draw in their Indian Super League Season 7 encounter at the Fatorda Stadium on Monday. Goa are yet to record three points this season and have only two points to show after three games. Being the ISL Shield winners of the previous, this increases the pressure on a team that has lost some of their key players and has a new coach in the dugout as well. Idrissa Sylla (40’ p) scored the opening goal before Igor Angulo (43’) equalised just before the break.
Brandon Fernandes was handed his first start of the season along with Aibanbha Dohling as Goa boss Juan Ferrando made three changes to the side, which had suffered a defeat to Mumbai City FC. Jorge Ortiz started with James Donachie benched. NorthEast made as many as five changes to the side which came from behind to hold Kerala in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Sylla was preferred ahead of Kwesi Appiah. Provat Lakra, Luis Machado, Lalrempuia Fanai and Britto PM were the other fresh faces.
Goa were keen to impose themselves on the Highlanders and came close in the fifth minute. Brandon played a long diagonal pass from inside his own half to find Ortiz on the flank, but the latter shot straight at keeper Subhasish Chowdhury.
The Gaurs were clearly the better side in the first quarter enjoying almost 70 percent possession. They were all over NorthEast territory trying to create spaces, but their inability to penetrate the NorthEast defence let them down.
The Highlanders, who relied mostly on counters, had their opportunities too. At the half-hour mark, the visitors nearly scored. But Sylla couldn’t get his positioning right in front of the goal as he headed Britto’s deflected cross over the bar.
Sylla’s presence troubled Goa’s defence. And the Guinean earned a penalty in the 39th minute for the Highlanders after he was deemed to have been tripped by Ivan Gonzalez. TV analyst Eelco Schattorie, former NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters coach, thought it was a soft penalty. Sylla, who had to retake his penalty due to enroachment during his first attempt, kept his cool to put his side ahead in the game, scoring his second goal of the season.
The joy was short-lived as Goa restored parity in the 43rd minute and it was Brandon once again with a fine assist. Edu Bedia found Brandon on the left flank, who took on Lakra and hooked a low cross into the box, where Angulo flicked it into the goal.
FC Goa continued from where they left off and came close to scoring early in the second half with Angulo and Ortiz missing chances. Goa's right full-back Seriton Fernandes was particularly poor as he took way too much time to make decision in the attacking third and let him team down.
Ferrando threw the gauntlet at NorthEast United FC when he brought on Makan Chothe in place of Lenny Rodrigues and Ishan Pandita replaced Aiban but none could shake the scoreline.
Ferrando and Nus even had an altercation on the sidelines for which both were booked as well. Scenes turned uglier close to the stoppage time when Noguera pushed Nus, who dramatically rolled on the ground. Ferrando and his staff from the bench were seen laughing at Nus and clapping in sarcasm.
With just six minutes left on the clock, Goa nearly found a winner as Alberto Noguera was denied by the post. His low shot beat the keeper but kissed the frame and went out for a goal kick.