The Highlanders caused a bit of an upset as they trumped high-flying Goa in Guwahati.
Marcinho and Seiminlen Doungel struck on either side of a Manuel Arana equaliser as the Highlanders won their first home game of the campaign. However, the Gaurs had plenty of chances to score more goals as they blew their opportunity to go top of the table. Speaking to the media at the post-match press conference was an understandably disappointed Goa head coach, Sergio Lobera. The Spaniard refused to tag NorthEast’s gameplay as surprising.
“I don’t think they (NorthEast) surprised us. They didn’t play any differently to what they have played throughout the league. They just had more chances and they took them,” he stated before explaining what went wrong for his side on the night.
“Obviously, we were tired. Even though we were tired, we went out there, we played well, we worked hard, we created a lot of chances, but I think today, football is a little unjust with us because we didn’t deserve to lose this game.”
The Spaniard also explained why he made some changes to his formation, the most notable of which was Mandar Rao Dessai’s switch to the left-back position. “Changes were there because we had to make changes,” he said. “For me, the players’ health is of utmost importance.”
“Mandar (Rao Dessai) did play left-back but this is not the first time he’s played there. But I’ll repeat, we created a lot of chances, we failed to take them. The other team scored from their chances.”
Meanwhile, the Highlanders’ goalkeeping coach Joseph Siddy acknowledged the fact that certain changes paid dividends for the team. “I said before the, the technical changes and tactical changes made a difference, we created and scored.”
He was also pleased with Halicharan Narzary’s performance, given that the 23-year-old came off the back of an injury lay-off. “He’s (Halicharan) coming back from injury,’ Siddy explained. “He was out for 15 days. He only trained for two days, and so you see why we’re happy with his performance.”
Siddy concluded the press conference by thanking the passionate NorthEast fans for their support through thick and thin. “I would like to thank the fans too. Hopefully, in the next match we will see more fans coming and supporting us,” he added.