Talking Point: Will Goa net the first goal from open play against NorthEast this season?

FC Goa will be hoping for their first win in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face NorthEast United FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Monday. The Gaurs have managed to accumulate just one point after their opening two games of the season and will be aiming for nothing less than maximum points against the Highlanders. NorthEast, on the other hand, are unbeaten following the first two matches of their campaign and will pose a stern test for the Gaurs. Here, we have a closer look at some of the factors that could determine the outcome of the clash between the two teams.

The Highlanders enjoy themselves in the second half

NorthEast have netted three goals in the league so far and all of them have come in the second half. They look a completely different proposition in the second period of games, and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues when they face Goa. After being 2-0 down at the break against Kerala, they tested the Blasters goalkeeper several times in the second half before drawing the contest 2-2. Out of the 21 shots taken by them so far, 17 have come in the second half. They are still to register a shot on target in the first half, though, and are yet to face a shot on target or concede a goal in the second period.

Captain Edu Bedia has been leading by example

After being handed the captaincy armband at the start of the season, Goa skipper Edu Bedia has risen to the challenge and has led from the front. He has taken the joint second most shots for FC Goa this season (4) and also has the most touches (177) of the ball so far. On the defensive front, the Spaniard has made the joint-highest tackles (13) and also has the second highest interceptions (4). He has completed 148 passes – the most by a Goa player – with an 83.78 percent accuracy but is yet to create a chance for the Gaurs. The fact that he’s being used in a deep lying role in midfield certainly doesn’t help in this regard but if Bedia is moved higher up the pitch and finds his passing range, opposition defences will undoubtedly be more worried.

Will NorthEast’s defence continue impressing?

One of the most impressive aspects about NorthEast’s unbeaten start to the season has been their defence. The Highlanders have conceded twice so far and are yet to let in a goal from open play. They have conceded 15 shots in two matches from which just two shots have been on target – the joint least by any team in Hero ISL 2020-21. The Highlanders, in fact, have not conceded a shot on target in three of the four halves they have played so far. That said, it remains to be seen how they fare against Goa. The Gaurs have registered eight shots on target this season and have a good shot accuracy of 47.05 per cent.


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