The clash is regarded as one of the biggest games in the league.
After a positive start to the campaign, NorthEast United FC host FC Goa at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Friday night. The previous season saw both the sides making it to the playoffs and will have similar aspirations this term too, hence a great game is in prospect.
The Highlanders have picked up four points from their first two games having grind out a hard-fought 2-1 win against Odisha FC in their last outing, with their marquee signing Asamoah Gyan winning it late.
They would face a stern test against the formidable Gaurs from Goa who also have the same number of points in their kitty as their hosts. In their last game at home, they were almost the victims of a brilliant tactical performance by defending champions Bengaluru FC, but they were fortunately rescued by their talisman Ferran Corominas who buried home a penalty in the stoppage time.
The beginning of the season has gone decently enough for NorthEast United who will be aiming to make the playoffs for a second season running. Having played Bengaluru in their first game, they would want to see off another formidable opponent on Friday with a positive result which would provide a great impetus for the rest of the season.
The Highlanders would look to bank on the positive atmosphere they gathered from their win in their last game and expect a similar result on the Gaurs, which would make the league take notice of Robert Jarni’s men.
FC Goa have emerged as a powerhouse in the league under Sergio Lobera, who is at the helm in his third season now. Under the Spanish tactician, the Gaurs play with a swagger unlike any one else in the league, capable of ripping any team to shreds on their day.
Sergio Lobera’s men had a brilliant season last term that led them to the ISL final and also saw them conquer the Super Cup. The Goans would be determined to put the disappointment of their loss in the final last season and perform even better this time. Hence they would want to sustain their bright start to the league and keep pace with the league leaders and put an early marker for their travels this season.
The Highlanders don’t have any injuries/suspensions to deal with like in their previous two games. However to deal with FC Goa’s free flowing attack, Mislav Komorski would likely slot in at the centre of defence along with Kai Heerings. That means Panagiotis Triadis, who impressed on the left wing in the last game may have to sit out.
Similarly, Sergio Lobera also has the full roster to choose from. Edu Bedia and Hugo Boumous may also be featuring in this game having being absent in the previous two.
The two sides have tussled 10 times previously with the Gaurs being the more dominant of the two having won four times compared to NorthEast United’s two wins. In Guwahati, however, the Highlanders have been more successful winning twice and losing only once.
Man To Watch
Asamoah Gyan (NorthEast United FC)
Asamoah Gyan scored his first competitive goal for the Highlanders against Odisha FC
The Ghanaian’s first goal for his new club proved to be the winner against Odisha FC and was a great way to announce himself to the Highlanders’ faithful. After overcoming the pressure of opening his NorthEast United account, it can be expected that the former Ghana captain will be more ruthless and clinical in front of the goal. Against FC Goa who are expected to score several goals, the onus would be on Gyan to secure a positive result for his side.
Ferran Corominas (FC Goa)
Ferran Corominas scored in stoppage time against Bengaluru FC in the last game
The league’s Golden Boot winner of the previous two campaigns, Ferran Corominas has made scoring goals look so easy whilst making an absolute mockery of opposition defences. The Spaniard’s prowess in front of goal seems to be unabating as he enters his third season in the ISL having already bagged two goals in as many games. The NorthEast United defence can expect to have their hands full against the craft and guile of this prolific Spanish striker.
NorthEast United FC: Subhasish (GK); Reagan, Komorski, Heerings, Pradhan; Luedo, Milan, Kadam, Chaves, Redeem; Gyan
FC Goa: Nawaz (GK); Seriton, Pena, Fall, Mandar; Jahouh, Lenny, Bedia, Doungel, Brandon; Corominas
Did You Know?
- FC Goa have scored the highest goals by a team in ISL since its inception with 158, almost double that of NorthEast United who have managed just 81.
- Ferran Corominas has already netted five times in his four appearances against the Highlanders so far.
- The last time NorthEast United beat FC Goa in Guwahati, Seminlen Doungel was on the scoresheet for the hosts. On Friday he might be starting for FC Goa.
The match between NorthEast United FC and FC Goa is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. It will also be streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.
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