Full-time report: It was an interesting matchup: between a team with most goals last season and the one which ended at the bottom of the table. However, the way the game played out at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Monday, the fixture seemed anything but a mismatch. The match ended in a draw with two goals scored at either ends of the pitch. Ferran Corominas, the top scorer of last season, scored twice to start this campaign.
By the end of the first half, Goa
had taken control of the match, thanks in part to the two goals scored by their star forward Coro. But other than the goals too, Goa
had been the better side with them dominating the possession and slicing the NorthEast
defence repeatedly with incisive passes.
The beginning of the game was a sort of red herring as NorthEast
United FC went forward with a lucky goal in the seventh minute. Goa's young keeper Mohammad Nawaz had a brainfade moment when he advanced outside of his box and, thinking that the ball had been called for offside handled it. The referee awarded the freekick Federico Gallego slotted home the ball into the empty net.
United tried to take inspiration from the goal and move forward but Goa
did just enough to push them back.
Coro's first goal came in the 13th minute when a tricky ball was dipped into the box. Coro leapt into the sky and the ball, after nikcing off one of his teammates, took a touch from his belly to score the first goal.
From then on, it was all Goa as they kept probing and pushing. In the 37th minute, Coro pulled off a beautiful solo goal when he danced past three NorthEast defenders to fire in a shot inside the goal.
In the second half, seven minutes after the restart of the game Nigerian Bartholomew Ogbeche got off his first goal for NorthEast United in his maiden ISL game. The former PSG player received a fantastic cross into the box which he redirected downwards towards the goalpost with his head. The game's tempo slowed down thereafer and while both teams tried to push forward, neither could stitch together any opportunity of note.
The two teams shared points and now have onen points each from as many matches. Both teams have certain positives to take from the game, although FC Goa
will feel that could have scored more, what with their reputation of being a free-scoring team. But there's an entire topurnament to do that. For now, it's not a bad beginning. Neither is it for NorthEast FC.