ISL: Goa fire last minute winner to pip NorthEast 2-1
Margao, Nov 11 (IANS) A man-short FC Goa came back from behind to outsmart NorthEast United 2-1 with a strike at the death in an exciting and action-packed Indian Super League football match here on Friday.
Reduced to 10 men after Sahil Tavora picked up his second yellow booking in the 72nd minute, the Goans fired the winner through Romeo Fernandes in the fourth and last minute of the injury time, picking up three full points and ushering in celebrations among the large crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium galleries.
Earlier, NorthEast went into the lead in the 50th minute through Seityasen Singh, but Robin Singh restored parity 12 minutes later.
The Goa franchise now have 10 points from as many matches, though they still languish at the foot of the table.
NorthEast, who deserved to finish the evening as winners after a dominating show, are also on 10 points, but have played a match less.
The visitors ruled the first half, and were clearly unlucky not to the take the lead, with the woodwork twice standing between them and the goal.
Having the bulk of ball possession, and the more number of tries at the opponent's goal, NorthEast endeavoured to fox their opponents with fast attacks.
The Goans, in contrast, looked subdued in the midfield and the opponent territory, but their goalkeeper-captain Laxmikant Kattimani and the all-Indian rearguard put up a solid display.
NorthEast, however, should have found the target towards the close of the opening session, as they pulverised the Goan defence with relentless moves.
In the 38th minute, Katsumi fed Gustavo Lazaretti, whose powerful header slammed into the post. Of the rebound Robert Cullen set up Mailson Alves, but the latter's shot hit the bar.
Shortly later, NorthEast again came close to scoring, but Kattimoni thwarted the effort from Cullen.
After a goalless first half, NorthEast drew first blood, but it was a somewhat lucky goal. Katsumi Yusa's curling corner from the left floated into the box, and Robin Singh's half hearted headed clearance went only as far as to Seityasen, who cut in and let go an angular shot that deflected off Trindade Goncalves and foxed Akattimani.
NorthEast's jubilation, however, proved shortlived. Goa went on the counter, and Fernandes addressed a measured centre into the box for Robin, who put the ball in.
Robin also played a crucial role in the late winner by setting up an unguarded Fernandes down the right. Fernandes dribbled past rival custodian Subrata Pal, kept his balance, and displayed fine marksmanship to send the ball into the empty net.