NorthEast United breathe life into campaign with win over FC Goa
NorthEast United notched only their second win of the Hero Indian Super League’s fourth season after goals from Marcinho and Seminlen Doungel helped them down FC Goa 2-1 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, on Saturday.
The victory means technical advisor Avram Grant starts his stint in the Hero ISL with a big upset, and keeps them in ninth position, though just one point behind Kerala Blasters.
Doungel scored the winner after Cesario’s lovely through ball found him clear on goal. Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani steamed off his line in what seemed a rash decision and Doungel clipped it over him expertly.
Marcinho had opened the scoring with a delightfully taken goal in the 20th minute. Cesario’s cross was behind him, but the Brazilian reached out to bring it down with some fine control, and set himself up for the side’s first goal at home. A deflection helped him but he had earned his luck.
The home side’s joy didn’t last too long though. The flag stayed down when Pronay Halder found space on the left wing and his lofted cross was turned in by Manuel Arana, after what looked like a clear handball from Jose Goncalves. In the end though, it was NorthEast who had the last laugh.
The teams were locked 1-1 at the breather.
The second half took right off from where the first half had ended – when Doungel found space down the right channel but was confused between pulling it back for Cesario or taking a shot. He chose the latter but it went straight at Kattimani.
It was at the hour mark when the drama really began. A back-pass resulted in an indirect free-kick for NorthEast from the edge of the six yard box but the shot was blocked. Cesario had the next chance, but his attempt to place the shot in the far corner was wide.
Ten minutes later, Lanzarote delivered a sumptuous cross from the left but this time Arana could not tap it in. The frustration got worse for the visitors when Manvir Singh missed from a couple of yards out when his shot struck the post with the keeper nowhere near the goal line.
In the 88th minute, NorthEast’s defence made two off-the-line clearances and it was in that moment that they seemed unbeatable on the night.
In the first half, NorthEast dominated the first 25 odd minutes. Apart from Marcinho’s goal, they had a couple of chances to increase their lead. Cesario was through on goal but tried to lob Kattimani and couldn’t pull it off. This was after his shot from a tight angle was parried away. Marcinho almost turned provider in the 33rd minute when his freekick found Martin Diaz, but the glancing header was straight at the goalkeeper.
But FC Goa, like they so often do, grew into the game. Before the equaliser, they had a brilliant chance when Manuel Arana found Corominas in the box, only to see his kneed shot brilliantly saved by TP Rehenesh. The Goans could have come from behind and go in the lead at the stroke of the first half but Brandon Fernandes’ left-footer was palmed over by Rehenesh at the near post.