FC Goa seek consistency as NorthEast United FC eye first points

FC Goa are out looking for more points as they face NorthEast United FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday. The Gaurs are currently in the last playoff spot in the table, just two points clear of Chennaiyin FC in seventh. Meanwhile, the Highlanders are still without a win and sit at the bottom of the Hero ISL.

Out of four home games so far, the Gaurs have won three. Apart from the 2-0 loss to Bengaluru FC, FC Goa have been dominant in their other home games, winning all of them 3-0. Last week, Carlos Pena’s side emerged on top against Odisha FC by that margin.

Noah Sadaoui contributed to all three goals by scoring one and assisting the other two. The attacker comes into this game with eight goal contributions in nine games. Striker Alvaro Vasquez ended his barren run by scoring his first goal of the season against the Juggernauts. Edu Bedia will also be available after serving his suspension during the last game. (Club statistics)

“We have a focus on repeating the performance we displayed against Odisha last week. Everyone in the dressing room knows that NorthEast have not won any game till now, but that does not matter,” said Pena. “They have a new coach and are searching for the first point and victory. Our goal for tomorrow is to replicate last week’s performance and to get three points,” he added.

Approaching the midway point of the season, NorthEast United FC are yet to get off the mark. Last week, under the new management of Vincenzo Annese, they lost 7-3 against Chennaiyin FC. But there were signs of improvement as the Highlanders nearly doubled their goal tally for the season in that game, and have gotten on the scoresheet in four out of their last five games.

Striker Wilmar Jordan scored his first goal of the season from the spot, with Romain Philippoteaux and Rochharzela also getting their names on the scoresheet. However, at the back, NorthEast United FC failed to keep Chennaiyin FC at bay. (Club statistics)

“I don’t think about the games lost. I focus on trying to win the next game and on improving the team with a different approach. In my career, I have always worked at clubs where they have achieved something. I always try to reach the best point,” said Annese. “I believe in myself, and step-by-step, I will help the team reach a higher level. I honestly don’t care what people talk about the nine consecutive games that we lost. I only focus on the next game,” he added.

There have been 16 Hero ISL encounters between these two teams. Half of them have ended in draws, while the Gaurs have clinched five wins, and the Highlanders have won on three occasions. Last season, with a win and a draw, NorthEast United FC were unbeaten against FC Goa. (Hero ISL standings)

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