~ Manvir Singh’s late equaliser preserved the Gaurs’ unbeaten run in season 6 ~
Goa Khabar:FC Goa drew 2-2 with NorthEast United at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Sarusajai, Guwahati on Friday.
Hugo Boumous and Manvir Singh scored for the Gaurs, while Asamoah Gyan and Redeem Tlang netted for the Highlanders. Len Doungel was sent off for FC Goa.
Sergio Lobera made two changes to the line-up that drew 1-1 with Bengaluru FC at the Fatorda Stadium. Hugo Boumous made his first start of the season and Jackichand Singh came back into the 11 at the expense of Seimenlen Doungel and Manvir Singh. Ferran Corominas started up front, flanked by Brandon Fernandes and Jacki. Lenny Rodrigues and Ahmed Jahouh started in midfield.
NorthEast United made two alterations to their winning combination against Odisha FC. Wayne Vaz and Panagiotis Triadis made way for Mislav Komorski and Nikhil Kadam. Asamoah Gyan led their line, aided by Kadam, Martin Chaves and Redeem Tlang.
The Gaurs started at a fast pace, almost taking the lead at the start of the game. NorthEast United was able to clear their lines twice within the first minute as Coro, Boumous and Jacki combined to put the Highlander defence under early pressure.
In the 12th minute, Ahmed Jahouh tried his luck from distance but was unable to make his shot count as it went wide of the post. Five minutes later, Boumous danced his way to the edge of the box, beating Komorski before letting loose with his left foot. The ball, which appeared to be on target, had Highlander custodian Subhashish Roy Chowdhury beaten before the crossbar came to his rescue.
Returning from injury, Boumous would not be denied as a trio in white ripped through the defence in red. Receiving the ball in midfield, Coro caressed it onto the path of Brandon. The Goan split the defence with a slider that beat the right-sided centre back and the right-back to put it on a plate for Boumous, who calmly rounded the NorthEast keeper to slot it home.
The midfielder almost had his second goal of the night as a Jacki cross was headed goalwards but the ball went wide. NorthEast had their big chance of the half in the 41st minute when Gyan headed a Rakesh Pradhan cross towards Nawaz’s left but the Manipuri keeper dived at full length to keep the Ghanian out. Mourtada Fall put in a last-ditch block to keep Redeem’s shot from the rebound from going in.
The visitors went into the half 1-0 up, courtesy Boumous’ goal. The home team equalised in the 54th minute when Gyan ran free of Fall to collect Pradhan’s pass and finish past Nawaz.
The Gaurs almost re-took the lead 13 minutes later as Jackichand had his low drive parried away by Subhashish, who made a double save as his right leg denied Coro on the rebound. Chaves’ then passed for Redeem Tlang to score the Highlanders’ second of the night.
Len Doungel then replaced Lenny Rodrigues in the 77th minute. Coro, on his 50th start for FC Goa almost scored from Mandar’s cross but the Spaniard’s left-footed shot hit the NorthEast post.
Two more substitutions were made by the Gaurs as Saviour Gama and Manvir Singh came on for Mandar Rao Dessai and Carlos Peña.
Substitute Doungel was then shown a straight red for a challenge in added-on time. But it was Manvir Singh who had the last word as he buried Fall’s flick-on in the 5th minute of injury time to level the scores at 2-2.
With this draw, FC Goa now have 5 points from 3 games and are in 3rd position in the table. The Gaurs face the Islanders next on November 7 at the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri.