News & Features/Gaurs suffer third defeat of the season to NEUFC
FC Goa fell to their third loss of the season after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
The Highlanders took the early lead through Marcinho whose shot ricocheted off both posts and finally went in. The Gaurs responded immediately and got a goal back through Manuel Arana who pounced on a weak clearance to net his third goal of the campaign. The Highlanders came out blazing in the second period and took an early lead in the second half after Seiminlen Doungel ran on to a Marcinho through ball and lobbed the onrushing Kattimani.
NorthEast United FC got off to a fantastic start as they held on to the ball and passed it around with conviction. The Gaurs struggled to deal with their possession play at the beginning as Danilo Cezario managed to get past the defence on a number of occasions but failed to capitalize. Laxmikant Kattimani was called into action early on and was forced to make a save from one such run from Cezario who burst past Chinglensana Singh and took a shot at goal. A couple of minutes later, Marcinho put in a good low cross from the left but Cezario failed to direct it goalwards.
Top scorer Ferran ‘Coro’ Corominas almost got on to the scoresheet moments later. Manuel Arana darted towards the box from the right side and took a low shot which was flying wide of the goal but Coro intercepted it and directed it towards goal but Rehenesh made a good stop to deny him. The Highlanders continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded in the 21st minute. Cezario once again managed to pull past Sana and crossed it into the middle of the box where Marcinho took the ball down superbly and shot it to the left of Kattimani. The ball came off Ahmed Jahouh and ricocheted off the inside of both posts before settling in goal. Seven minutes later, the Gaurs were level. Pronay Halder found himself with space in the box and ran towards the byline before crossing towards the far post. Jose Goncalves’ attempted clearance fell kindly for Arana who was lurking in the box and the winger promptly smashed home.
The Highlanders should have taken back the lead almost immediately when Marcinho’s free kick found the head of Martin Diaz in the box. The midfielder’s header however was saved by Kattimani. Thereafter, FC Goa began to get a foothold on the game and began to carve out chances for themselves. Brandon Fernandes was making a nuisance of himself in the opposition box and had a couple of chances to score but wasn’t able to beat Rehenesh. Towards the end of the half, Coro had a legitimate claim for a penalty turned down when he chased down a lobbed pass and was nudged in the back by Goncalves. The referee however, denied the penalty and waved for play to continue. Goa looked the likelier to take the lead as time ran by but were unable to take the lead before the break. The Highlanders came out all guns blazing in the second period and could have had the lead almost immediately after Seiminlen Doungel was played in. The winger however, wasn’t able to beat Kattimani. The home side pushed forward brilliantly and were rewarded in the 52nd minute. FC Goa were caught in possession in the middle of the park and Marcinho picked up the ball, spotted the run of Doungel and played the Indian in superbly. The winger noticed Kattimani charging towards him and lobbed the ball cheekily over the onrushing keeper to give his side the lead. Five minutes later, Kattimani handled a back pass from Juste and the referee awarded the Highlanders an indirect free-kick five yards from goal. Lanzarote however, got in the way of the shot to prevent the home side from going further ahead. Sergio Lobera reacted to going behind by sending on Edu Bedia and Ali Mohamed for Pronay Halder and Sergio Juste before the hour mark. The home side though, continued to pile on the pressure as Goa struggled to cope.
Cezario is played through once more in the 67th minute but the striker opens up his body and sends his shot wide to the relief of the Goan defence. The Gaurs began to get more of a foothold on the half thereafter and began to create a few chances. Edu is set up by Ali in the 73rd minute but sent his long range shot wide of the far post. Manvir Singh was brought on for Brandon Fernandes later in the half and got a header on target from a Lanzarote cross from the left but hit it straight at Rehenesh. A minute later, FC Goa could have equalized. Lanzarote once more floated a superb cross towards the far post where Arana burst through and hit a shot off the ground towards goal. But Rehenesh got in the way of the shot and made the save. A couple of minutes later, Manvir Singh missed a gilt edged chance to bring his side level. Jahouh played Seriton through with a stunning ball over the top. The full back charged into the box and was taken out by Rehenesh. The ball ricocheted towards an unmarked Manvir who smashed it off the near post. The referee denied the Gaurs another penalty, much to the disappointment of the players.
The away side continued to pile on the pressure in a bid to get back into the game but were unable to break the defence. Edu should have scored in the 88th minute when Lanzarote’s corner fell to his head but the ball was cleared off the line by Nirmal Chhetri. The clearance fell to Manvir who sent another header towards goal but that too was cleared off the line. As time ticked on, the Gaurs pushed forward dangerously as the Highlanders looked to play out of defence and hit them on the counter. They were unable to find the equalizing goal though, before the referee called for time on proceedings.
The Gaurs will return to Goa after two tough away matches and will take on Jamshedpur FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda.