FC Goa produced a masterclass at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda against NorthEast United FC, winning 2-0 and reclaiming their place back at the top of the Indian Super League standings.
With FC Goa head coach Sergio Lobera back in the dugout, a renewed belief was in the players as the same eleven that started against Bengaluru FC was put forth once again for this game, suggesting that attacking intent would not be lacking.
Ahmed Jahouh bossed the middle of the park once the match was underway, and it looked increasingly as though the visitors would have to spend a large part of the game on the backfoot.
FC Goa’s possession early doors led to a good chance in the first ten minutes when the willing Jackichand Singh darted forward and played in Coro, who was unable to guide the ball on target.
The intent from the Gaurs suggested that chances would be aplenty, and Coro was in the thick of the action again in the first half as he tried a sensational overhead kick in the 18th minute after a cross from Jacki found him. Unfortunately, the effort was slightly off target.
As the half went on, the possession stats continued to remain comfortably in the favour of FC Goa, who seldom had to defend from a NorthEast United FC attack in the first 45 minutes.
However, stoic defending from the Highlanders meant that the home support had to wait a little longer to see the ball nestle in the back of the net.
As half-time rolled in, the scoreline showed 0-0 but it looked clear that only one team was playing for the win.
After the restart, it was FC Goa who did the attacking once more, and were presented with the best opportunity of the game within minutes of the second half, as a lovely through ball from Lenny Rodrigues found Jacki. The winger found himself one on one with Pawan Kumar in the NorthEast United FC goal, but could only strike the ball straight at the goalkeeper. The follow up effort from Jacki’s strike fell to Brandon Fernandes but his shot was cleared off the line as the Gaurs piled on the pressure.
The pressure paid off as the first goal arrived in the 68th minute when Jacki found himself on the right wing and appeared to put in a routine ball into the box, only to see something rather bizarre happen.
The outstretched leg of Mislav Komorski greeted the cross, and the ball deflected off the defender towards goal. It should have been an easy stop for Pawan Kumar in goal, but somehow the custodian let the ball slip through his fingers and into the back of the net.
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium erupted in joy and Jacki wheeled off in celebration, but it was a horror moment for Kumar and Komorski which the duo certainly would not want to revisit again.
The goal brought about a response from the Highlanders, and Mohammad Nawaz in the FC Goa goal was called into action in the 79th minute, but his fine save meant that the lead was intact and the Gaurs could push forward once more.
A lobbed pass forward a minute later from Ahmed Jahouh caused pandemonium in the NorthEast United FC defensive line, and once Coro was through on goal, Jose Leudo had no other option but to bring the Spaniard down inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and showed a red card to the Colombian who can have no complaints considering he was last man. Coro stepped up to take the penalty and made no mistake to make it 2-0 and secure the points for FC Goa.
The Goans maturely saw out the rest of the game without much of a fuss, and deservedly left with all three points and a position back at the top of the ISL table.