Though in their first match, NorthEast defeated Kerala by a solitary goal, but as agreed by coach Nelo, there is a lot to improve. And knowing that FC Goa might just be a lot tougher opponent, the home side needs to buckle things up really tight.
In the pre-match press conference, however, coach Nelo has however ruled out any surprise changes in the starting XI. If he is to be believed, the recovery time from the first match till today isn’t enough for his players to be fit for 90 minutes.
Predict XI for NorthEast United FC
Starting from the post, Subrata Paul started in the last match ahead of club favourite TP Rehenesh, and the veteran almost clumsily made NorthEast concede two goals. A very adventurous man, Paul went off the line a couple of times, much to the racing heartbeats of the NorthEast supporters.
Despite this, he ought to retain his position as the coach might just not want to tinker with the combination along the defensive line. Moreover, Rehenesh did not really have a great season with East Bengal last season, so going with Paul might seem to be a safe option for now.
As for the back four, they were relatively satisfactory last match and the pair of Mailson Alves and Gustavo Lacazetti ensured that the shape is maintained. Hence these two will surely start. Nirmal Chettri might just come in place of Regan Singh, while Robin Gurung retains his position.
The midfield charge will again be led by ISL season 3’s first goal scorer, Katsumi Yusa, while the support of Ivory Coast player Romaric should be at his disposal. Holicharan Narzary might just not make it to the cut as the coach indicated that he hasn’t recovered yet from the last match while the fact that Seityasen Singh is getting fitter might just displace Narzary from his position. According to the coach, marquee signing Didier Zokora is not yet fit enough to start.
The charge of attack would yet again be on Argentine Nicholas Velez’s shoulders along with Uruguay forward Emiliano Alfaro, who showed quite some sparks last match.
Goa has a string of injury issues going into the match. New signing Robin Singh was the latest to join the list when he limped out of the training session and hasn’t travelled with the squad. Others in the list are Gregory Arnolin, Subhasish Row Chowdhury and Denzil Franco.
Thus, Laxmikant Kattimani will once again start betwenn the posts while marquee signing Lucio should guard the defence line alongside Rafael Dumas and Raju Gaikwad.
Having retained Mandar Rao Dessai and Romeo Fernandes, they are expected dominate the wing game while Jofre is expected to handle the central midfield. Rafael Coelho and Reinaldo should lead the attack.
Though Goa had a long pre-season in Brazil, owing to the injuries it becomes a little difficult to predict the line up for the match. The team could not play their scheduled practice matches in India aginst DSK Shivajians and India Under-19 due to the poor conditions of the grounds. With three injured Indian players, Zico might also find it difficult to make the formation alongside the foreign players. When asked to elaborate on the injury list in the pre-match conference, Zico instead replied that no injured player has travelled with the team and those who have come are fit to play.