Both sides are yet to register their first victory in the ongoing campaign.

The first match of this weekend’s double header in Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 will see NorthEast United and FC Goa facing off against each other at the JLN Stadium in Fatorda. Both sides are keen to script a comeback following anticlimactic starts to their respective campaigns.

NorthEast United have lost two games and the tale for FC Goa is no different. The Gaurs are the only team who are yet to register a point this season. Who will come out on top in this clash and which side will continue their disappointing run? We’ll find out on December 4.

The stakes

NorthEast United

After the highs of last season, Khalid Jamil’s side seem to have lost their motive this season. They started their campaign with below-par performance against Bengaluru FC, Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC. This is the first time since 2014 that they’ve failed to register a victory in their first three games.

The story doesn’t end here. Things have turned from bad to worse for the Guwahati-based side with long-term injuries to key players. The Highlanders are having a tough time on both ends of the pitch. They’ve not just lost their goal-scoring boots, but have also allowed other teams to take a toll of their backline. Speaking about their upcoming game, the Highlanders have not won against Goa for almost four years now and will be anxious to put an end to the streak.

FC Goa

The story of FC Goa is no different this season. The Gaurs are undergoing their worst-ever start to a season with two back-to-back heavy defeats. They showed a below-average performance in their season opener against Mumbai City, followed by an uncharacteristic display against Jamshedpur FC.

Juan Ferrando’s side sent a statement of intent to the rest of the league with their Durand Cup triumph during the pre-season. However, things have changed drastically ever since the beginning of ISL 2021-22. Their struggle is clearly visible in coping with the new foreign players’ policy, which has caused a lot of distress to the squad. As things stand, FC Goa can take a lot of confidence from the fact that they are undefeated against NorthEast United in the last three seasons.

Team news

Brandon Fernandes
Like last season, Brandon Fernandes has been affected by an injury this time as well (Courtesy- ISL Media)

The Highlanders will miss out on the services of Imran Khan and Deshorn Brown while Federico Gallego is expected to be a long-term absentee. Hernan Santana is also doubtful.

For the Gaurs, Brandon Fernandes remains unavailable.

Head-to-head

The Gaurs have faced the Highlanders 14 times prior to this meeting. Out of the 14 games, Goa have registered five wins compared to NorthEast’s two. Seven matches have ended as draws.

Probable lineups

NorthEast United: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury (GK); Provat Lakra, Mashoor Shereef, Patrick Flottmann, Gurjinder Singh; Khassa Camara, Hernan Santana (C), Pragyan Gogoi, William Lalnunfela, Mathias Coureur, VP Suhair.

FC Goa: Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem (GK); Seriton Fernandes, Ivan Gonzalez, Aiban Dohling, Sanson Pereira; Glan Martins, Edu Bedia (C); Alexander Romario, Alberto Noguera, Savior Gama; Airam Cabrera.

Men to watch

VP Suhair (NorthEast United)

Suhair has certainly been NorthEast’s best forward this season. He can operate on either flanks and his versatility to switch positions makes him a big threat. He created a couple of big chances in the opening game against Bengaluru and also provided an assist. Not just that, Suhair also scored his first goal of the campaign against Chennaiyin and will be looking to build on the initial success.

Airam Cabrera (FC Goa)

The striker came to India with big expectations on his shoulders to fill in for Igor Angulo, who joined Mumbai City. He struggled in the opening game against Mumbai City, but opened his scoring account against Jamshedpur. He looked lively in his cameo from the bench and will be keen to continue the momentum.

Did you know?

  • FC Goa and NorthEast United have played the highest number of draws against each other than other teams (7).
  • Edu Bedia and Federico Gallego are the longest-serving foreigners for their respective clubs.
  • FC Goa have scored 27 goals and NorthEast United have scored 18 goals in the 14 meetings between each other.

Telecast

The match will be played at the Fatorda Stadium on December 4, at 7:30 PM. It will be telecasted on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. It will also be streamed on Disney+Hotstar and Jio TV.