Gallego bags a brace from the spot as NorthEast and FC Goa share the spoils
Match 82 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 saw NorthEast United FC and FC Goa play out an exciting 2-2 draw at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Thursday. Alexander Jesuraj put Goa in front in the 21st minute before a Federico Gallego penalty restored parity ahead of the halftime break. The Gaurs went ahead again in the second half through an own goal by Gurjinder Kumar but another Gallego penalty meant that the sides had to share the spoils.
- Alexander Jesuraj scored the opener for Goa in the 21st minute and Federico Gallego equalised four minutes before the break.
- An own goal by Gurjinder Kumar helped Goa regain their lead only for Gallego to score another penalty for NorthEast.
After NorthEast started with great intensity and looked to press from the front with their forwards, the game settled into the expected pattern of Goa dominating possession and the Highlanders defending in numbers. Neither side managed to create any chances of note for the opening 20 minutes up until Jesuraj broke the deadlock for the Gaurs.
The goal came after great build-up play from Goa. An Alberto Noguera pass towards the left was dummied by Devendra Murgaokar, which allowed Jorge Ortiz to run on to the ball and skip past a defender before entering the box. Ortiz then passed the ball to Noguera, whose miscued shot went to Jesuraj for the Indian winger to slot into the net.
NorthEast looked to respond immediately and went close in the 26th minute after Deshorn Brown closed down Goa’s goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh quickly. The Jamaican forward managed to get a block on the ball as Dheeraj looked to clear it under pressure but Brown’s ricochet went wide of the goal to the relief of the Gaurs custodian. Suhair Vadakkepeedika tried his luck from the edge of the box soon after, however, his attempt failed to test Dheeraj.
The Highlanders had another chance to restore parity in the 36th minute when Brown was put in on goal. However, Dheeraj was wary of the danger and came off his line to help the Jamaican’s shot behind for a corner. The subsequent corner also resulted in more goalmouth drama as Suhair was the quickest to react and got to a loose ball before anyone else to volley it on target and force a clearance off the line by substitute Glan Martins.
Khalid Jamil’s men though were eventually rewarded for continually knocking on Goa’s door with the equaliser in the 41st minute after Luis Machado was fouled in the penalty area by Noguera. Gallego confidently stepped up to the spot and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to ensure that the teams went into the break on level terms.
The second half began with a NorthEast chance early on when Brown ran on to a neat Gallego flick-on before executing a dipping volley that was off target. Brown’s shot seemed to set the tone for the second period for NorthEast as it was Jamil’s men that went on to do most of the attacking for the majority of the half.
The Jamaican forward should have equalised for the Highlanders in the 65th minute but his free header from a corner even failed to test the goalkeeper. Gallego went on to force Dheeraj into a save a few minutes later when his freekick required the Goa custodian’s intervention.
The Gaurs, in fact, had hardly got any sighters at goal after the restart but still took the lead in the 80th minute courtesy of a Gurjinder own goal. The goal came from an Ortiz corner that was headed goalwards by Goa substitute Amarjit Singh before Gurjinder deflected the ball into his own net while attempting to block the attempt.
However, Goa’s lead didn’t last for too long after they conceded another penalty following a tackle in the box on Ashutosh Mehta by Ivan Gonzalez. Gallego stepped up to the spot and even though Dheeraj guessed right and got a hand on the ball, he couldn’t prevent the Uruguayan from making it all square again.
Goa could have taken the lead for a third time in the match had Ortiz’s 85th-minute shot from outside the box hit the back of the net instead of the crossbar. NorthEast also tried their best to win it late and finished stronger but in the end both teams had to settle for a point.
Hero of the Match – Federico Gallego
Federico Gallego ran the show from NorthEast’s midfield during the Highlanders’ draw against Goa. The Uruguayan playmaker was brilliant in possession and scored both of NorthEast’s goals from the penalty spot. He also created three chances for his teammates and made two successful tackles.
Other Match Awards:
Club Award – NorthEast United FC and FC Goa
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Jorge Ortiz (FC Goa)
Watch the Match Highlights here: