NorthEast look to preserve unbeaten away record against mighty Goa
Still unbeaten on the road in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20, NorthEast United FC will aim to keep that record intact when they face FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday. The Gaurs, meanwhile, will be eager to bounce straight back after their loss to Bengaluru FC in their last match and reclaim their winning touch.
Currently second in the standings behind ATK FC by virtue of goal difference, a win or even a draw will be enough for the Gaurs to reclaim the top spot. The aim for Sergio Lobera's men, however, will be to go for all three points and strengthen their credentials to finish the league phase at the top of the table. Goa have been ruthless in attack, having scored 23 goals - the most by any team in the league so far. Ferran Corominas is the team's top scorer with seven and will back himself to add to his tally on Wednesday. Midfielder Hugo Boumous, too, has been in top form and has already scored four and assisted four more in just seven games. With the likes of Brandon Fernandes and Jackichand Singh in fine touch as well, expect the Gaurs to pose a significant scoring threat, especially at home.
Their defence, however, hasn't been quite as effective and have already conceded 14 times in 11 matches. The shortcoming was exposed in their last match against Bengaluru by Sunil Chhetri, who grabbed a brace to end Goa's five-match unbeaten run. It was a disappointing result against a top-four contender for sure but the Gaurs will be keen to shrug it off as soon as possible, starting with the tie against the Highlanders.
Having made a solid start to the season, NorthEast have let their foot off the gas lately and go into the match against Goa on the back of a five-match winless run. Their last win came back in November last year and the Highlanders will be desperate to make a winning start to 2020. Despite that, Robert Jarni's men will take heart from the fact that they are still unbeaten away from home this season and will hope to maintain that against Goa.
Going into Wednesday's encounter, head coach Jarni will have a major issue to address in attack. The Highlanders have scored just once in their last three matches and even that solitary goal came from a penalty. Goal scoring has been a major issue for the Highlanders overall as the team seems to be overly dependent on captain Asamoah Gyan to deliver up front. The Ghanaian has registered four of NorthEast's nine goals this season and will be looking for more support from the rest of the team in the final third.
The defence, too, has looked rocky of late, conceding six in their last three - the same number of goals they conceded in their first six matches of the campaign. Making things even harder against a prolific Goa attack will be the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Subhasish Roy, who is suspended for Wednesday's tie.
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Ahmed Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas
NorthEast United FC: Pawan Kumar (GK), Rakesh Pradhan, Mislav Komorski, Reagan Singh, Heerings Kai, Jose Leudo, Redeem Tlang, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Lalengmawia, Martin Chaves, Asamoah Gyan
Did you know?
- NorthEast are yet to lose away from home this season (Played 4, Won 1 and Drawn 3).
- FC Goa have scored the most number of goals (14) in the second half this season.
- NorthEast have created just 5.3 chances per match, joint fewest in the league along with Jamshedpur FC.
Which striker will shine in the contest?
- Ferran Corominas
- Asamoah Gyan
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 54: FC Goa vs NorthEast United FC
Date: January 8 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV