News & Features/Gaurs held to 2-2 draw against NorthEast United FC
FC Goa were held to a 2-2 draw against NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda in a pulsating encounter.
Mandar Rao Dessai opened the scoring for the Gaurs in the 42nd minute. However the Highlanders hit back three minutes later through Marcinho. A superb cross from Manuel Lanzarote to set up Coro saw the Spanish striker score his 13th goal of the season in the 53rd minute. But the Gaurs were pulled back once more when John Mosquera tapped home a low cross from Seiminlen Doungel in the 71st minute.
It was a cagey beginning to the first period as both sides looked cautious in possession. However, it was the home side that could have had an early penalty after Manuel Lanzarote found Ferran Corominas on the counter with a good through ball. The striker ran into the box but seemed to have been fouled. However, the referee waved for play to continue much to the disappointment of the home fans. Thereafter, it was the Highlanders who began to apply pressure on the home side as FC Goa were forced back. Things got worse for the Gaurs moments later when winger Brandon Fernandes went down with injury. He had to be taken off the pitch and Manvir Singh was brought on to replace him.
Marcinho had the first chance for the visitors in the 15th minute when a cross from the right wing fell to him at the far post. He hit a first time effort on target but Laxmikant Kattimani was up to the task and managed to make the save. The Gaurs were struggling to get a foothold on the game as the visitors broke forward with ease time and again. Manvir did have the ball in the net in the 20th minute but the referee had his flag up for offside. In the 31st minute, Marcinho positioned himself well in the box to send a header from an accurate cross goalwards. However, Kattimani made the save once again to deny the visitors the opener. Two minutes later, he had yet another chance to open his account in the game after Halicharan Narzary squared the ball for him from the left. He let fly with his left foot, beat Kattimani but Ali Mohammad got in the way to nod the ball clear of danger.
It looked like the first half would end all square with both sides failing to create any clear cut chances. However, the Gaurs charged into the lead in the 42nd minute. Lanzarote found himself with space in the middle of the park and initiated a superb counter-attack. He played youngster Jonathan Cardozo through down the right. The right back put in a low cross which deflected off a couple of defenders and landed at the feet of Mandar lurking on the left side of the box. The Goan kept his calm, trapped the ball and smashed a left footed effort past Rehenesh and into the net at the far post. The celebrations though, were cut short after the Highlanders got back on level terms three minutes later. Reagan Singh put in a cross towards the far post which Sergio Juste was unable to clear. The ball landed for Narzary who squeezed the ball back into a dangerous area and into the path of Marcinho who made no mistake, tapping it past Kattimani to level the tie as the referee called for time on the half.
The Gaurs came out with intent in the second period and should have taken the lead almost immediately. Manvir played a superb give and go with Lanzarote who played the striker through. His touch however, took him too wide and Rehenesh made a save at the near post from his eventual shot. Edu Bedia had a couple of chances thereafter but wasn’t able to convert. The Gaurs restored their lead in the 53rd minute after a piece of individual brilliance from Lanzarote. Ahmed Jahouh found himself with space in the middle of the park and lobbed a superb pass towards the unmarked Spaniard on the left wing. He took a couple of steps forward and swung in an absolutely delightful cross that had just the right amount of pace and curl towards the far post where Coro made the run. The striker simply diverted the ball past a helpless Rehenesh and into the net at the far post as Fatorda erupted into raucous cheer.
As the game continued, the Gaurs played from defence and attempted to hit the visitors on the counter. That plan however, didn’t go to plan as the Highlanders restored parity to the tie once again in the 71st minute. Seiminlen Doungel was played through down the right as Narayan didn’t pick the runner. He took his time and put in a good low pass towards substitute John Mosquera who made the run into the box. The ball beat the outstretched hands of Kattimani and landed perfectly for the Colombian who tapped into an empty net. Sergio’s men could have re-taken the lead two minutes later when a superb piece of skill from Lanzarote on the right saw him evade a couple of defenders on the right and square for Coro who shot from a tight angle. The goalkeeper juggled the ball and made the save. A few minutes later, the Gaurs should have had a clear penalty when Coro had his legs taken from a challenge in the bbox but the referee waved for play to continue much to the disappointment of the crowd.
The Gaurs continued to push forward in waves in a bid to re-take their lead but the visitors held firm and almost took the lead from a counter-attack. However, there wasn’t enough time for either side to score a third as the referee called for time on proceedings not long after.