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Indian Super League

ISL: NorthEast United, a surprise package unboxed

07:22 GMT+3 02/11/2019
Redeem Tlang NorthEast United FC Goa ISL 6
Robert Jarni's NorthEast United stood their ground against FC Goa...

A major lapse in concentration at the back is all that prevented NorthEast United from picking up a win against a strong FC Goa on Friday. 

It was an end-to-end encounter for most parts at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium but at the end of it, all said and done, there was no winner. Both teams had chances to score throughout the game but the Highlanders were truly the surprise package of the season which was finally unboxed in Guwahati.

Like an amateurish unboxing video on YouTube, the start didn't go as planned for Robert Jarni's side. After all, they were up against a team that has been built around the same core group under the tutelage of the same head coach - something that very few Indian clubs can boast about.

The Gaurs started on the front foot and drew first blood. A silky smooth move ended up with Hugo Boumous getting in behind the NorthEast defence and slotting past goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, who made a rare error of judgement and later pulled off excellent saves. 

Goa's usual dominance lasted just 30 minutes. NorthEast should have been in the lead before the half ended but Asamoah Gyan spurned two big chances, one of them coming out of an uncharacteristic error from Mourtada Fall. 

Robert Jarni demanded better from his players, especially those playing on the flanks and the results were immediate. NorthEast took control in the second-half and bombarded the Goan goal for long stretches. 

Fall, who was one of the team's best players last season, had an off-day. After the big error in the first-half, he lost track of Asamoah Gyan in the second, allowing the Ghanaian to pounce onto a ball into the box and calmly curl it into the corner of the net, the kind of finish that reminded the stadium of his Premier League days. 

From one of the most experienced players in the team, the baton was then passed onto the one of the youngest. Redeem Tlang arrived in the box to meet Martin Chaves' cross from the left flank and caressed it into the net with a fantabulous first-time shot - the kind of finish that reminded the stadium of his potential. 

Robert Jarni can be proud of his team's second-half performance - except for the 10 seconds in the end when the defence switched off to allow Goa to equalise. Work on such small short-comings and we have a proper, competitive team on our hands.