Tomi Juric slotted home the penalty to score the first goal for NorthEast United.
Tomi Juric slotted home the penalty to score the first goal for NorthEast United. Photo: ISL

FC Goa again fails to defend the fortress

Gaurs dominated in the early stages but lacked finishing to end with two losses on the trot at home

FC Goa lost their second consecutive match at home by two goals, and if the loss at the hands of North East United hurt, it was because the hosts failed to capitalise on the opportunities that came their way at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda on Wednesday.

FC Goa started dominantly but finished on a whimper against opponents who had one chance through the match, in the 68th minute from which they scored and therein, North East United gave some semblance of colour to their play.

Juric takes a header which deflected off Odei Onaindia of FC Goa and entered the net for the visitors' second goal.
Juric takes a header which deflected off Odei Onaindia of FC Goa and entered the net for the visitors' second goal. Photo: ISL

Both teams started having won one, drawn one and lost one of their last three games and what should have been FC Goa’s day to bounce back, ended up with the visitors having the last laugh.

The first half belonged to FC Goa because North East looked lost with an incognito midfield. Their game was simple – lob from back to the front towards their striker Tomi Juric who after chesting the ball, invariably ended sneezing it to his opponents.

A tight first half with only one attempt on target by FC Goa.
A tight first half with only one attempt on target by FC Goa. Photo: ISL

FC Goa coach Manolo Marquez gave a chance to Ayush Chhetri in the midfield and Nim Tamang in the defence and the team seemed to lack the teeth they normally display up front with Borja Gonzalez and Carlos Rodriguez having a go but always wayward.

The only worthy chance in the first half happened around the 9th minute when Carlos Rodriguez let go a left footer which was well blocked by North East keeper Mirshad Koottappunna and the punch saw North East reacting through a counter attack of which they could not score.

FC Goa's Onaindia fights for control of the ball.
FC Goa's Onaindia fights for control of the ball. Photo: ISL

With the first half lackluster, the second seemed to be swaying in the same direction – FC Goa unable to score and North East unable to dent their rival defense – until the penalty.

Tomi Juric made meat of the first ball he managed to control with his feet, in the 68th minute and as he made space for himself inside the FC Goa box, he was pulled from behind by Seriton Fernandes and the referee did not hesitate to award a penalty.

This time, Tomi sent FC Goa keeper Arshdeep the wrong way for the first goal of their first good chance.

FC Goa's Borja Herrera and North East player Mohammed Ali Bemammer in action.
FC Goa's Borja Herrera and North East player Mohammed Ali Bemammer in action. Photo: ISL

The goal was a result of a flurry of North East United substitutions, the most prominent being of Nestor Roger in the midfield and Romain Philippoteaux. Suddenly, there was depth in the visitors play and what seemed an improbable win ended as one with a safe margin.

North East United made the issue safe, or at least less tense, when they got the second goal that came off a deflection from Odei Zabala who otherwise was the star in the FC Goa defence.

Up by two goals, North East threw all bodies behind and what followed was a flurry of free kicks earned by the hosts but Brandon, who took the onus, was unable to ignite his potent creativity.

Tomi Juric slotted home the penalty to score the first goal for NorthEast United.
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FC Goa won four free kicks, all in dangerous positions but they lacked the spit normally associated with them. Only once did the North East United keeper require to throw himself to his left to stop the ball from entering into the goal.

Losing two games on a trot at home is not want fans would like to see. The loss in the previous match was understandable but the second will need a lot of out of the box thinking if Manolo wants to retain his credibility of coach with the magic potion as FC Goa plays East Bengal at home next.

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