ISL 2018-19: 'We played good football and could have won the game,' says NorthEast United manager Eelco Schatorrie
Eelco Schatorrie maintained his 100% record against FC Goa, as NorthEast United managed to hold FC Goa to a 2-2 draw in their inaugural match of the 2018-19 ISL season. Federico Gallego gave the Highlanders the lead in the 8th minute. Last season's top scorer Ferran Corominas scored a brace to provide Goa with the lead in the first half. Birthday boy Ogbeche netted the equalizer to give NorthEast United a crucial point from their first game.
NorthEast United FC coach was looking at the positives and was happy with the result especially for getting a point after being two-one down. "We got a lucky goal in the first half, but then we conceded two and weren't good enough. In the second half, we changed the formation a bit, and we played good football and could have won the game," is how Eelco summed up the game.
The Dutch gaffer did mention that his side is still a work in progress as they had two weeks of less preparation time or preseason compared to the other teams and feels his side will only get better with every passing week. He mentioned that players like Mislav, Mato and Gallego need a few more weeks to be match fit.
"Rowllin was playing in a deeper role in the first half and wasn't able to counter Goa's midfield properly. In the second half, I changed his position to a more advanced role, and we all saw how well he played," is how Eelco described Rowllin's performance against Goa.
Eelco also heaped praise on Redeem Tlang and Puitea and mentioned that Redeem is a very versatile player and can play in the middle of the park and on the wings which is very helpful for any side. Speaking about the young Mizo midfielder, Puitea, Eelco said that he is someone who has improved a lot in a short span of time and also looked lively during the five odd minutes that he played during Goa.
Eelco seemed delighted with the youngster's performance against Minerva Punjab in their last preseason game, and it looks like the youngster will get more than a few minutes of game time this season.
Redeem Tlang spoke to Sportskeeda after the game and said: "I am pleased that the coach has put his trust in me and I will keep working hard to get."
He also mentioned that the NorthEast could have won the game, but he was happy with the performance.
He also seemed pleased to be playing with Rupert Nongrum again in NEUFC since the duo has been together since their academy days.
Speaking about the game after the match, FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera mentioned that missing players such as Edu Bedia and Brandon Fernandes was a significant loss, but he didn't want to make excuses as such. He did say that especially after Jackichand Singh got injured it would have been better to have Brandon as an option.
The Spanish gaffer heaped a lot of praise on the diminutive Manipuri winger Jackichand Singh, for his first-half display. He was directly involved in the first goal and created numerous opportunities for his side.
Regarding the first goal that Goa conceded which had a lot of people in shock and left many confused due to the errors leading up to the goal, Lobera stated: "It was due to two mistakes committed by my players. First my keeper handled the ball outside the box and didn't play to the whistle, and second, we allowed NorthEast United to take a quick freekick."
He also referred to Ogbeche being offside in the build-up play that led to the goal but didn't want to talk about any refereeing decision.
When questioned about his choice to play Mohammad Nawaz the 18-year-old lad from Manipur as the goalkeeper Sergio stated that: "I always play the fittest goalkeeper, whoever is the fittest will play. Today Nawaz played maybe next day a different keeper will play."
Goa striker Manvir Singh mentioned that he was content with the result and hoped to carry his rich vein of form from the SAFF CUP to the ISL too.