NorthEast United banking on home support against wounded FC Goa

FC Goa will play their first away game of the season as they are all set to visit North East United fortress at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday evening.

The Gaurs had three home games to begin with that started on a winning note as they beat Delhi Dynamos FC 2-0, then a 1-1 draw against Atletico de Kolkata and the last result a 0-4 loss to Chennaiyin FC.

Meanwhile, North East United are lying at the bottom of the Indian Super League table as they are yet to earn even a point. Their 3-1 loss against Kerala Blasters, then again a 1-0 loss against FC Pne City has left them at the bottom.

FC Goa have 25 shots on target with three goals to show and are looking to return to winning ways while Cesar Farias’ team is yet to register a point.

Form Guide & Head to Head     

Both the teams are yet to deliver an impressive performance in this season of Indian Super League. Although FC Goa did overcome Delhi Dynamos FC 2-0 in their opening match of the season, Mandar Rao Desai and Reinaldo’s goal in each half proved to be just enough for The Gaurs.

Keegan Almeida’s goal on 81st minute against Atletico de Kolkata cancelled Arata Izumi’s goal in first half to share the point with the defending champions.

Chennaiyin FC shocked The Gaurs as Steven Mendoza’s hattrick sinked FC Goa 4-0.

North East United are yet to earn even a point in this season as they have lost both their games. Rosu, Rafi and Watt’s goal were enough to defeat The Highlanders 3-1 in both the team’s first match of this season.

Ralte’s own goal helped FC Pune City to narrowly overcome North East United 1-0 as they are hoping to target their first points against FC Goa.

Team News

Brazilian Legend Lucio hasn’t traveled with the team due to a muscle pain while Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, who had received a knock in the match against Chennaiyin, remains in contention after practicing normally with the squad.

Lucio’s injury will add to the woes of Zico who faced a lot of criticisms for his on and off the field behaviour during the tournament after their last match against Chennaiyin FC. The Brazilian legend has to find a way to rejuvenate his team after they were drubbed 4-0 by the Chennai franchise team on Sunday.

Zico would be hoping that defensive midfielder Bikramjit Singh is fit for this clash as he was injured earlier in this season’s campaign.

Expected Starting XI: Elinton Andrade, Luciano Sabrosa, Gregory Arnolin, Debabrata Roy, Keenan Almeida, Bikramjit Singh, Leo Moura, Jofre, Romeo Fernandes, Mandar Rao Desai, Victor Simoes

Meanwhile for North East United, Marquee player Simao Sabrosa is yet to make his ISL debut and it seems he will take some more time to take the ground. Fellow countrymen Miguel Garcia who sustained a hamstring injury in the first match will now fly back home for better treatment and will not be available for at least three weeks. Holicharan Nazary is recovering from an injury and is practicing, but is unlikely to make it to the playing XI. On the other hand Ralte, Kondwani Mtonga and Seityasen Singh have all been sidelined.

Expected Starting XI: Rehenesh TP, Reagan Singh, Cedric Hengbart, Siam Hanghal, Khongjee, Bruno Herro, Sanju Pradhan, Silas, Nicholas Velez, Kamara, Boithang Haokip

Manager Word’s

Talking about injuries the Brazilian legend were quoted as saying, “I think NorthEast have the same problem that we have. Their players are also injured. I watched a few games of NorthEast. They didn’t look like they deserved to lose the last game. So we will have a good game,” said head coach Zico.

Zico also spoke about 4-0 defeat to Chennaiyin FC, “There was a plan to specially mark Elano and Mendoza, but unfortunately in the due course of the match it did not work out as we expected it to be. So it can happen in football you see, sometimes you have the best plans and players, but at the time of the game things don’t work out. And also the other team can batter game.”

The Brazilian also claimed it to be his worst defeat as coach as he further added: “It was a loss that I was very sad with, because in my 16 years of career, I have never lost a match 4-0”

But do the hectic “travel” schedules affect the training sessions of the players in any way?: “The location and timings of the training sessions may change a bit, we may also change players on the pitch but the philosophy remains the same. Always. Home or away makes no difference to us,” the Brazilian said.


When inquired about the unavailability of Narayan Das and Pronoy Halder, who aren’t available due to national duty as Indian National Team is preparing for FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers. Zico replied with a laugh, “They haven’t played any game for us. We are not even missing them yet.”

On further being asked about how he rates North East United, the coach remarked, “We respect all the teams that we play. I have watched some games of NorthEast and even in their last game they did not deserve the loss. We are expecting a very good game, a very difficult game tomorrow.”

North East United gaffer, Cesar Farias said, “We have good precision, good timing and good attitude of players. But the problem is injuries. We have a lot of international players injured. We played a good last game and we created more possibilities for goals. But it is very important to finish with a goal and finish with a win. Tomorrow it is important to win.”

Speaking about absence of some of his key players, he further added: “We have to believe in the Indian player and other players which we have. We have to play with accuracy and focus. We have to believe in ourselves. We need combine well and control the ball and pass well.  We also need to have good possession of the ball.  We need to have a good mental attitude and take it easy.”


North East United 0-2 FC Goa







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