FC Goa and NorthEast United played out an exciting 2-2 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati on Monday evening.
NorthEast United took an early lead but Ferran Corominas equalised for the visitors. The Spaniard scored one more before half-time to give his team the lead. The Highlanders’ new recruit Bartholomew Ogbeche scored the equaliser early in the second half to seal a crucial point at home in their first match.
On the match, Goa coach Sergio Lobera opined, “When all the players are available, we have more choices especially like today’s game where we had to make substitutions. We missed Brandon (Fernandes) and Edu (Bedia). As a coach, I have to work and be ready for every situation.”
On conceding a strange opening goal, Lobera said, “For me, there were two mistakes, one, it was offside but the referee decided not to blow the whistle and the goalkeeper handled the ball outside the box. The second mistake we made was to allow the opponent to play the ball quick so we conceded the goal.”
FC Goa’s young goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz started tonight ahead of experienced custodians like Laxmikant Kattimani and Lalthummawia Ralte.
On being asked why he picked Nawaz in today’s match, the Spanish coach explained, “As a coach, I decided to select the goalkeeper (Mohammad Nawaz) who was the fittest at that time. Next game let us see who plays because we have three very good goalkeepers. Regardless of the age the goalkeeper who will be the best at that moment we will select him.”
Jackichand Singh, who provided the assist for Ferran Corminas’ first goal, had to leave the pitch on a stretcher in the second half.
On the India international’s performance and his injury, Lobera said, “Jackichand’s performance was pretty good till the time he was on the pitch. It is too soon to give an update on his injury status. We have to wait.”
Praising opponents NorthEast United, Lobera said, “NorthEast are a team which has been built from the scratch. They are good and a tough team and we knew they will give us a tough fight. They played well in the second half. Overall they are a good team.”