A determined FC Goa redeemed themselves with a convincing 3-1 victory over the North East United FC, in the Indian Super League (ISL) clash, in Guwahati . The victory was some consolation for the FC Goa team after it was stunned 0-4 by Chennaiyin FC, in their previous home game.
In an effort to bounce back, FC Goa chief coach Zico, made as many as four changes to his starting eleven, and got the desired response, as Jonatan Lucca (28th minute), Reinaldo (30th), and Mandar Rao Desai (70th), got the goals for FC Goa, after Francis Dadzie had given North East United the early lead. With this win, FC Goa now have seven points from four matches, while NorthEast United have lost all three games played so far.
It was not all that smooth for FC Goa in the beginning of the encounter. The franchise found themselves down by a goal, as early on as the 12th minute, when Francis Dadzie headed home. Midfielder Sanju Pradhan had done well to bamboozle Debabrata Roy on the right flank, and then cross the ball into the heart of the Goan goalmouth, where left-back Keenan Almeida lost his player, and Dadzie was allowed an easy header into an empty goal.
FC Goa’s reaction was swift to the shocking goal. Midfielders Leo Moura, and Joffre Gonzalez, were controlling the proceedings amicably, and it was only a matter of time before they got the much needed equalizer.
In the 28th minute, a quick counter-attack launched by Jonatan Lucca, saw CS Sabeeth rush towards the goal, and then pick out Joffre, inside the danger zone. The Spanish midfielder checked his run, and laid a perfect ball for Luccca to finish brilliantly from just outside the box.
Two minutes later, Goa took the lead. It was Joffre again who was the architect of the goal as he dribbled past a couple of players on the left-flank, and took aim at the goal where the defenders managed to block but simply ball-watched as Reinaldo pounced on the rebound from close range to score his second goal in the league.
In the second half, NorthEast United came back strongly in search of the equalizer, and could have drawn level, but were denied.
Captain Cedric Hengbart’s header from a corner kick fell straight into the waiting hands of the goalkeeper, and another grounder from Reagan Singh was also well covered by Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani. Goa too had chances of their own but Joffre, and Reinaldo both missed, with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Goa finally put the game beyond North East United’s reach in the 70th minute and sealed the match. Leo Moura waited, watched the rival defence regroup, and then sent a defence-splitting ball for substitute Mandar Rao Desai to slide it past the goalkeeper, to clinch a well deserved win.