Khassa Camara scores stunning injury-time winner for NorthEast United

Roccharzela celebrates his goal with his teammates

NorthEast United registered a crucial 2-1 win over Goa in Match 17 of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season. The Highlanders went ahead through Rochharzela before Alexander Jesuraj scored the equalizer for FC Goa. Khassa Camara scored a stunning additional minute winner to take all the three points home for the Highlanders.

Khalid Jamil made wholesale changes to the team that lost by a thin margin of 2-1 to Chennaiyin as Mashoor Shereef, Pragyan Gogoi, the injured skipper Federico Gallego, and Laldanmawia Ralte made way for Patrick Flottman, Sehnaj Singh, Mapuia, and Rochharzela.

Juan Ferrando handed Dylan Fox his debut in the ISL for Goa against his former side as he replaced Aiban Dohling in the heart of the defense. Skipper Edu Bedia had to make way for Princeton Rebello to accommodate another overseas player in defense whilst Nongdamba Naorem made his full debut for Goa in place of Devendra Murgaonkar.

Khalid Jamil’s men mounted immense pressure from the word go and pressed the Goa defense in their own half. In the 10th minute, The Gaurs eventually lost the ball to Mathias Coureur who found an unmarked Rochharzela, and the right-winger made a solo run down the middle to score past Dheeraj Singh in the Goa goal as the ball went into the back of the net after taking a deflection off the right post.

However, Goa hit back in instantaneous fashion through a tap-in from Alexander Romario Jesuraj. Jorge Ortiz made a darting run down the right flank and laid the ball off to Romario who made a mess of the scoring opportunity with an audacious backheel flip past the goal. The loose ball fell to Alberto Noguera outside the Highlanders penalty area and the Spaniard’s striker was deflected into the back of the net by the right-winger on a second attempt to make it 1-1.

Dheeraj Singh was kept busy throughout the game by NorthEast United FC

Dheeraj Singh was kept busy throughout the game by NorthEast United FC

In the 19th minute, Jamil’s men continued their high press despite conceding the goal and they got a golden opportunity to restore their two-goal lead after Coureur was through on goal but he disappointingly hit the ball straight to Dheeraj Singh in the Goa goal despite having Rochharzela as an option to pass to alongside him.

Goa was denied twice after the half-hour mark as an Ortiz backheel was safely pouched by Subhasish Roy Chowdhury while a marathon attempt by several players a minute later couldn’t go past the veteran goalkeeper as well. In the 37th minute, Fox found the back of the net but he was marked offside as the two teams went into the break with level pegging. 

After a long ball from Fox at the back, Coureur hit the right post with a half volley from outside the box and the crossbar denied him once again as he spotted the Goa custodian out of his position and tried to chip the youngster with a lobbed attempt from around the halfway line but the ball hit the woodwork yet again.

NorthEast United kept the pressure on the Gaurs with the attacks consistently ending with shots on target. 

In the second minute of injury time, substitute Deshorn Brown fed VP Suhair who was heroically denied by Dheeraj Singh in a one-on-one situation. The Highlanders eventually managed to get the lead as Camara banged a belter of a shot from distance deep into the additional time to make it 2-1 and leaving no time on the clock for a second Goa goal as the Highlanders ran away with the crucial three points.

Goa is in an unfamiliar position of being rooted at the bottom of the ISL standings and faces a fellow struggling side in East Bengal on Tuesday while NorthEast United will now face the revamped Odisha team after a 5-day break on Friday.