NorthEast United vs Goa: Preview and Prediction
NorthEast United and Goa are two teams yet to win a game this season and will be locking horns in ‘Match 17’ of the 2021-22 Indian Super League season. The Highlanders have only managed to secure a single point from their first three matches this season while Goa has also had a horrific start losing both of their first two matches.
Alongside East Bengal, these two teams are occupying the bottom three places of the standings. A win in this game will be crucial, as it will not only help them climb up the table but will also boost their depleted morale.
How have they done so far?
NorthEast United had a rocky start as they suffered a 4-2 defeat against Bengaluru in their opening game and The Highlanders evidently looked shaky at the back after parting ways with top defenders Ashutosh Mehta, Dylan Fox, and Benjamin Lambot. Khalid Jamil’s boys somehow held their fort in the 0-0 draw against Kerala Blasters whereas a close encounter against Chennaiyin ended in a 2-1 defeat for the Highlanders.
Things have been pretty similar for Goa as well as the Gaurs have struggled to pick themselves up after a morale-dampening 3-0 defeat against Mumbai City in the opening fixture. Despite being the favorites against Jamshedpur, Juan Ferrando’s team suffered another defeat, conceding three goals against the Red Miners as well.
Head to Head Record
Both sides have met each other a total of 14 times and things have been cagey more often than not in this particular rivalry. Goa has a clear upper hand with five wins to NorthEast United’s meager two wins whilst half of the matches have ended as draws.
Two of those draws were played out in the last season itself. The first encounter of the season saw both sides sharing spoils in a 1-1 draw where Igor Angulo and Idrissa Sylla were on target for their respective teams. The second game ended in a 2-2 draw with Federico Gallego scoring from two spot-kicks while an own goal from Gurjinder Kumar and a strike from Alexander Romario Jesuraj secured a point each for the two semi-finalists.
Unfortunately, both teams have some injury concerns ahead of this match. Jamil’s biggest miss will be Uruguayan midfielder and skipper Gallego who injured his knee in the game against Chennaiyin and was stretchered out of the field in tears, which often means that the player fears a long-term injury.
In Gallego’s absence, Hernan Santana might have to operate in the middle of the park with Patrick Flottmann and Mashoor Shareef deployed at central defense.
Similarly for Goa, Ferrando might not have the services of the Australian central defender Dylan Fox. The former NorthEast player is still not fit enough to start the game and will miss the opportunity to shine against his former employers. There are fitness concerns over Muhammed Nemil as well who got injured in the Durand Cup while Brendon Fernandes might sit out of this game as well.
Given that he is short of options, the former Sheriff Tiraspol manager might field an unchanged XI from the game against Jamshedpur, though he could also utilize Airam Cabrera upfront by replacing either Alberto Noguera or Jorge Ortiz with Nongdongba Naorem.
Predicted Starting Lineups
NorthEast United (4-3-3): Subhasish Roy Chowdhury; Provat Lakra, Mashoor Shareef, Patrick Flottmann, Gurjinder Kumar; Khassa Camara, Hernan Santana, Pragyan Gogoi; Laldanmawia Ralte, Matheus Coureur, VP Suhair.
Goa (4-2-3-1): Dheeraj Singh; Seriton Fernandes, Ivan Gonzalez, Aiban Dohling, Sanson Pereira; Glan Martins, Edu Bedia; Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Alberto Noguera, Jorge Ortiz; Devendra Murgaonkar.
Goa and NorthEast United have played out seven stalemates so far, which gives us an idea of how close this encounter can get. The resemblance is uncanny as both sides reached the playoffs last season and are now struggling to secure their first win of this season.
However, Ferrando’s team is slightly ahead in terms of quality on paper while the Highlanders look lackluster whenever Gallego is not on the pitch. Keeping these factors as our parameters, we have predicted a 2-1 win for Goa.