NorthEast United FC host FC Goa in what will be their second match of the season in the 2016 Hero Indian Super League, at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday. The Highlanders will be looking to kick on after their win against Kerala Blasters FC in their season opener. Tuesday’s encounter will be NorthEast’s second home game in four days and head coach Nelo Vingada will be looking to make it a maximum of six points out of six with another win in front of their passionate home support. FC Goa, on the other hand, will be taking the field for the first time this season as they look to do away with the memories of their final heartbreak against Chennaiyin FC in Hero ISL 2015. A semis berth under head coach Zico will once again be the minimum target for the Gaurs this season.
Head-to-head: NorthEast United FC have never beaten FC Goa in their four meetings thus far. FC Goa registered a 3-0 win against the Highlanders in Hero ISL 2014 and a 3-1 victory against them in Hero ISL 2015. The other two games between the sides ended in 1-1 draws.
Mailson Alves made a strong start to the season with NorthEast United FC by organising his backline to help the Highlanders win their opening match of the season. Alves was crucial for NorthEast against Kerala Blasters FC and gave us an indication of his importance to the side as he helped Vingada begin his stint at NorthEast with a win. He made three important tackles and also distributed the ball expertly as he guided his side to their first clean sheet of the season.
Robin Singh will be raring to go after his Hero ISL 2015 exploits that saw him score four times for Delhi Dynamos FC. A strong and robust target-man, Robin can be expected to improve upon his goal tally this year with the Gaurs, who are known for their traditional attack-minded football. Blessed with a lethal left-foot and powerful in the air, he will offer FC Goa a physical presence in the opposition half as he looks to spearhead their attack.
Katsumi Yusa vs Joffre
Hero of the Match in NorthEast’s season opener, it was Katsumi Yusa’s goal that proved to be the difference between the two teams. Composed on the ball with great feet, Yusa can play in a variety of positions across the midfield. The best player on the pitch against Kerala Blasters FC, his adaptability and involvement in attack as well as defence always sees him in the thick of things. The Highlanders will be hoping his goal and performance against the Blasters is a sign of things to come.
Part of a select group of individuals to play all three editions of the Hero ISL, Joffre returns to FC Goa for a second season as a firm fan-favourite amongst the locals. The diminutive Spanish playmaker scored four goals and provided four assists last season. His ability to create goal-scoring opportunities with defence splitting passes will be crucial to FC Goa’s chances on Tuesday.
Nicolas Velez vs Lucio
Nicolas Velez has started Hero ISL 2016 in fine form. He had the better of one of India’s top defensive talents in Sandesh Jhingan against for the full 90 minutes against Kerala as he went past him seamlessly to lay off the assist for Yusa’s goal. The fleet-footed attacker will be looking to improve upon his display from Saturday by getting his name on the score-sheet when he takes to the field against FC Goa.
Lucio will be looking to exorcise the demons of last year’s final defeat in which Chennaiyin FC dragged FC Goa’s backline from pillar to post. The Brazilian FIFA World Cup winner is set to have his hands full with NorthEast’s potent attack on Tuesday. However, his past experience of playing at the highest level and his leadership skills on the pitch comes as a massive bonus for the Gaurs in terms of coping with the high-flying Highlanders. Lucio is also known to chip in with odd goals from time to time.
NorthEast United FC: Subrata Paul, TP Rehenesh, Wellington Gomes, Salam Ranjan Singh, Nirmal Chettri, Shouvik Ghosh, Robin Gurung, Reagan Singh, Mailson Alves, Gustavo Lazzaretti, Didier Zokora, Fanai Lalrempuia, Holicharan Narzary, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Katsumi Yusa, Koffi Christian N’dri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rowllin Borges, Seityasen Singh, Wellington Priori, Romaric, Emiliano Alfaro, Nicolas Velez, Sasha Aneff, Robert Cullen, Sumeet Passi
FC Goa: Laxmikanth Kattimani, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Sukhdev Patil, Lucio, Debabrata Roy, Denzil Franco, Fulganco Cardozo, Gregory Arnolin, Keenan Almeida, Luciano Sobrosa, Rafael Dumas, Raju Gaikwad, Sanjay Balmuchu, Joffre, Mandar Rao Dessai, Pratesh Shirodkar, Richarlyson, Romeo Fernandes, Sahil Tavora, Trindade Goncalves, Julio Cesar, Rafael Coelho, Reinaldo, Robin Singh
– ISL Media