Goa and NorthEast share the spoils after entertaining 1-1 draw
FC Goa and NorthEast United FC shared the spoils in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League after an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda in front of 19,438 spectators on Wednesday evening. The visitors took the lead shortly after the commencement of the second half from a Victor Mendy header before Reinaldo levelled for Goa in the 80th minute.
The first chance of the game came the Highlanders way from a corner in the 5th minute. Defender Carlos Javier Lopez headed a loose ball towards the Goa goal from the corner and his effort was kept out by Leo Moura on the goal-line. FC Goa came close six minutes later when Reinaldo headed back a cross towards the danger area. Striking partner Dudu was waiting for the ball and almost got there but goalie TP Rehenesh did enough to put off the Nigerian frontman.
The pendulum swung NorthEast United FC’s way next when Francis Dadzie went through on goal. Dadzie’s shot though was collected easily by Laxmikant Kattimani in goal. This was the Ghanaian’s last piece of action as he had to be withdrawn shortly due to injury and was replaced by Mendy.
Sanju Pradhan then fired a shot from distance at the goal which FC Goa’s defence somehow managed to scramble away from the box after TP Rehenesh had parried away Pradhan’s initial effort. Pradhan shot four minutes later again but failed to break the deadlock.
The visitors came closest to getting the their noses in front in the first half – four minutes before the break – when Bruno Arias carried the ball forward in a surging run but failed to give them the lead. This was the last meaningful action of the first period as the Highlanders went in at the break disappointed not to have taken the lead.
Cedric Hengbart had the first effort of the second period. Hengbart guided a thunderous header goal-wards which rattled the FC Goa woodwork. The Gaurs responded through Moura who forced Rehenesh into a diving save towards his left.
Jonatan Lucca was next to call Rehenesh into action when the Highlanders keeper had to tip behind Lucca’s long range shot for a corner. The goal came soon after from another corner, however it was a NorthEast corner this time around.
The Highlanders’ marquee player Simao stepped up and delivered a quality corner into the six-yard area which substitute Mendy attacked most aggressively and headed past a powerless Kattimani to put the visitors up 1-0.
FC Goa cranked up the tempo immediately in search of a leveller and looked dangerous attacking from the flanks. Mandar Rao Dessai and CS Sabeeth put in threatening crosses from these wide positions but unfortunately for the hosts, the crosses just evaded the Goan attackers in the box.
There was pandemonium in the stadium 10 minutes from full-time as the crowd erupted after Reinaldo got the Gaurs their equaliser. Moura did brilliantly to set up Reinaldo who smashed his shot past Rehenesh to make it 1-1.
Moura could have claimed all three points on the stroke of full-time. However, the Brazilian scuffed his shot wide of the NorthEast goal. Substitute Hali Charan Narzary also nearly stole all three points for the visitors on a counter-attack but Kattimani foiled his effort on goal as the game ended level-pegging. With the draw, FC Goa remained second with 19 points while NorthEast United FC moved up to fourth on 17 points.
Club Award – FC Goa and NorthEast United FC
Swift Moment of the Match – Victor Mendy [NorthEast United FC]
Amul Fittest Player of the Match – Reinaldo [FC Goa]
DHL Winning Pass (FC Goa): Leo Moura
ISL Emergin Player of the Match – Sanju Pradhan [NorthEast United FC]
Hero of the Match – Leo Moura [FC Goa]
– ISL Media