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Wanted win, happy with draw – NorthEast United, FC Goa didn’t want loss

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The 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) game between NorthEast United and FC Goa ended in a 2-2 draw, a result neither side should be too disappointed with.

Khalid Jamil has explicitly stated that he is satisfied with a point in a game between two teams fighting for the playoffs. Juan Ferrando said he was totally disappointed but a loss could have been a lot worse.

Goa and NorthEast are third and fifth in the standings after appearing in 15 games. These two teams and Hyderabad, fourth, all have 22 points each. Only four points separate the team from third place to seventh.

The start of Thursday’s ISL game was indicative of the teams’ mistrust of each other. Goa took control of the midfielder early on despite missing a key player like Edu Bedia.

Alberto Noguera and Princeton Rebello did a great job setting the pace of the game, but NorthEast United’s defense weathered an early storm.

The push of the Gaurs finally got a reward in the 21st minute. Noguera played the ball down the left flank for Jorge Ortiz who easily passed Ashutosh Mehta and returned the ball. The midfielder then found Alexander Romario amid a crowd of defenders and the Indian winger found the net with ease to put his team in front.

Goa suffered a heavy blow when Rebello had to be substituted due to an injury in the 35th minute and the change had an impact. Glan Martins couldn’t control the game as well as he would have hoped on his debut for Goa and NorthEast quickly found an equalizer.

Although Amarjit Singh almost gave FC Goa a victory with a close header, another penalty would mean the loot was shared. Credit must also go to Federico Gallego and Ashutosh Mehta for the NorthEast point. Mehta has been absolutely brilliant at right-back this season and he had to put in a tackle to save the goals late to deny Igor Angulo as well.

NorthEast United have failed to achieve four straight wins and that would have been quite a story for Khalid Jamil. But a point against the third-ranked team, with the playoffs in mind, will do the trick for now.

In the last six matches, FC Goa have only managed to secure one victory – a 3-0 victory over Jamshedpur FC. The rest of the games were all raffles, strangely enough. The injuries, the suspensions coupled with a lack of concentration in the back cost them dearly.

What has happened is that FC Goa, who at one point seemed determined to win a play-off berth, are deeply mired in the play-off race with NorthEast with Hyderabad, NorthEast United and a few other teams at at hand.

Their next game against Mumbai City FC, which leads the league table, and beating Sergio Lobera’s side would be a tough demand for FC Goa, who have several key players on the treatment table.

Giving two penalties in one game is criminal at the highest level and what Juan Ferrando will consider, as such a mistake would prove costly when the league goes into business.

Igor Angulo has been on fire, every time he’s on the pitch, and his goals would continue to make a difference, but giving cheap goals needs to be considered as other teams come closer.