CHENNAI: FC Goa looked a determined outfit as they squared off against NorthEast United at Fatorda Stadium on Monday. One of the consistent teams in Indian Super League history, they came into this encounter searching for a first win of the season.
On the other hand, NorthEast United, with four points from two matches, were keen to maintain their unbeaten streak. They did that, by holding Goa to a 1-1 draw. It was Goa’s third straight draw of the season.
Even before the game started, it was known that Goa would have more possession and NorthEast's defence would be tested. That remained the pattern for most parts of the match, with Goa asking serious questions. Inclusion of influential midfielder Brandon Fernandes proved to be a good move. He looked lively during his 60-minute stay on the pitch and was central to Goa's activities in the opposition half.
The contest ended with Goa enjoying 68 per cent possession, but one has to give credit to NorthEast's defence, which dealt with the attacks for long periods. Dylan Fox and Benjamin Lambot were solid at the back for the Highlanders.
Despite Goa bossing possession, NorthEast came close to scoring the first goal inside 30 minutes. And they did so when they earned a soft penalty, which was converted by Idrissa Sylla in the 40th minute. But they did not get time to celebrate that lead. Three minutes later, Fernandes sent in a good cross, which was met by Igor Angulo, who netted his third of the season.
The story did not change in the second half. It was more or less about Goa’s attackers, who somehow wanted to clinch three points. Angulo got a few half chances. Alberto Noguera came close with an effort that hit the outside of the post and it was the closest they came to winning. With both teams going all out, spaces opened up and it was box-to-box stuff. Entertaining, but neither team found the winner.