Winless for a month, Northeast United FC down, may soon be dusted

Rafael Coelho of FC Goa tries to get past the defence of Northeast United FC during match 36 of the Indian Super League (ISL) season 3 between FC Goa and Northeast United FC held at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa, India on November 11. Photo by Vipin Pawar / ISL

The Northeast United FC fans last roared the loudest on October 12, 2016 when the Highlanders won. Yes, it’s been a month that the Highlanders are looking for some success. If the match against Delhi Dynamos on October 15, 2016 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi was a drawn affair, successive loss at the hands of Chennaiyin FC, Atlético de Kolkata and Mumbai City at home and now the loss to FC Goa at Fatorda-Goa proves that the team is lacking the finishing touch.

On November 12, 2016, FC Goa struck in the fourth minute of added time to floor Northeast United FC 2-1 for their first win at home in the Hero Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda-Goa.

FC Goa were down in the 49th minute after Seityasen Singh provided Northeast United with the lead but equalised through Robin Singh in the 61st minute. Goa were then reduced to 10 men after Sahil Tavora was sent off but Romeo Fernandes handed the hosts full points with a dramatic late winner.

This was Goa’s first win at home after losing three matches in a row and gives them 10 points from 10 matches. Their inferior goal difference means they will continue to be at the bottom despite having the same number of points as Chennaiyin FC and Northeast United.

FC Goa started with just two foreign players due to suspensions and injuries and the hosts were under pressure right from the start as Northeast United sought to capitalise. Northeast United had the first chance in the third minute itself when Katsumi Yusa floated a corner-kick but Nicolas Velez’s tap from close range was saved by goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani.

Katsumi then tried his luck with a long-range free-kick which Kattimani parried away to safety and then Rowlin Borges failed to keep his open header on target after Seityasen Singh had whipped in a perfect cross.

FC Goa were relying largely on counter attacks but had their chances. Trindade Goncalves sent a ball through for Robin Singh in the 32nd minute but the India striker’s left-footed attempt was pushed away for a corner kick by Northeast goalkeeper Subrata Paul.

Northeast came close towards the end but only ended up hitting the crossbar twice. Gustavo Lazzaretti’s header first struck the crossbar from close range and then Velez also met with a similar fate when he had beaten Kattimani in the air.

Despite defending well for the first half, FC Goa could have still found themselves down by a goal. The chance for Northeast United fell quite unexpectedly when a long clearance from their own half caught the Goa defence off-guard but Velez’s lob over the onrushing goalkeeper was wide of the mark.

It was a different story in the second session as the Highlanders managed to take the lead in the 49th minute. A corner kick from Katsumi was headed away by Raju Gaikwad but only till Seityasen, who beat a defender and then took a powerful shot which deflected off Trindade into the Goa goal.

Goa equalised in the 61st minute against the run of play. A long ball from Trindade saw Romeo race ahead and get the better of Holicharan Narzary inside the danger zone. He then kept his cool to lay the ball for Robin who finished with ease to draw level.

Goa, however, were again on the back foot in the 72nd minute when midfielder Sahil Tavora was sent off for a second yellow card, putting additional pressure on the hosts. Northeast pressed hard for the winner but Goa had the last laugh after Romeo Fernandes gave finishing touches to a through ball from Robin Singh in the fourth minute of added time.

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