The teams shared a point each after a riveting game in Guwahati.
The people in Guwahati had moments of ‘heart-in-mouth’ and ‘hands above their heads in dismay,’ as FC Goa pulled off a sensational draw in the 96th minute. Manvir Singh scored the equalizer to help his side snatch a point from the game, when NorthEast seemed all set to get their second win of the season under Robert Jarni.
Sergio Lobera’s men took the lead on the half hour mark, but the Highlanders came out strong in the second half, to overturn the deficit with goals from Redeem Tlang and Asamoah Gyan. It seemed like they had enough in the tank to hold on, but Manvir had the last laugh to break the hearts of the NorthEast fans.
The draw is sure to have left head coach Robert Jarni thinking of having dropped two points. He said, “They (Goa) started well in the first half. They created the chances and took the lead. But, we came out better in the second half and we had the lead. But, in the end, it was to be a draw. Both teams played well, but I think the way we played it is two points dropped.”
Jarni also praised the efforts of his players saying, “The players showed character and put in a good effort. So, congratulations to them as well.”
Speaking about the half-time team-talk in the dressing room that spurred NorthEast to gain the lead eventually, Jarni said, “After the first half, I told them to play with confidence and believe in themselves. They did the same in the second half.”
Robert Jarni admitted that it was his players’ lapse in concentration that led to the goal in the dying moments saying, “I think it was possibly down to the lack of concentration from the players, which is normal. But, we have to control such situations to avoid problems like today.”
Both teams have now taken five points from their first three games. Goa travel next to Mumbai to play the Islanders on November 7. Whereas, NorthEast United will make the long trip south to play Hyderabad FC a day earlier.