132nd Durand Cup: FC Goa, NorthEast United FC Share Points In 2-2 Thriller - Eastern Mirror
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132nd Durand Cup: FC Goa, NorthEast United FC share points in 2-2 thriller

By IANS Updated: Aug 12, 2023 7:55 pm
132nd Durand Cup: FC Goa, NorthEast United FC share points in 2-2 thriller
Photo : IANS

GUWAHATI — In a pulsating encounter that kept fans on the edge of their seats, FC Goa held NorthEast United FC to a thrilling 2-2 draw in a clash between two Indian Super League (ISL) teams in the 132nd Durand Cup here on Saturday.

FC Goa came back from a goal deficit twice to force a draw as Rowllin Borges and Noah Sadaoui off a penalty scored to negate a strike by Manvir Singh and an own goal by Sandesh Jhingan.

The draw at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here helped FC Goa retain their top spot in Group D with four points from two matches. The Highlanders, who have the same number of points from the same number of games, are in second position on goal difference.

Earlier in the day, FC Goa coach Benito Montalvo rang in as many as seven changes to the playing XI that started in Tuesday’s win over Shillong Lajong FC, as Udanta Singh made his debut for the Men in Orange. Dheeraj Singh, Seriton Fernandes, Aibanbha Dohling, Raynier Fernandes, Victor Rodriguez and Carlos Martinez also got their first starts of the season against Juan Pedro Benali’s men.

The action-packed contest kicked off with NorthEast United taking the lead in the 24th minute. Manvir Singh capitalised on a defensive error by FC Goa as he pounced on an attempt to clear by Dheeraj Singh, and the ball ricocheted off the forward’s leg and nestled into the back of the net.

Determined to claw their way back into the game, the Gaurs intensified their attacks and were rewarded for their efforts in the fourth minute of added time, just seconds before the half-time whistle.

Rowllin Borges showcased his clinical finishing skills as he met a perfectly-placed corner-kick delivered by Brandon Fernandes and unleashed a thunderous first-time strike that found the roof of the net, leaving the opposition goalkeeper Mirshad Michu with no chance.

The second half resumed with both sides eager to gain the upper hand. NorthEast United exhibited resolute defending and swift counter-attacks, while FC Goa continued to press forward, seeking to capitalize on their attacking momentum.

In a dramatic turn of events, the Highlanders edged ahead once again in the 52nd minute. Sandesh Jhingan, while attempting to clear a dangerous cross from Manvir Singh on the right flank, inadvertently directed the ball into his own net, and the unfortunate own goal handed the home side a 2-1 advantage.

However, FC Goa showcased their fighting spirit and determination to salvage a point from the encounter. Their persistence paid off in the 80th minute when Noah Sadaoui won a penalty after being fouled inside the box.

The Moroccan himself stepped up to take the spot-kick and maintained his composure to confidently convert, levelling the scoreline once again at 2-2.

As the clock wound down, both teams pushed for a late winner, but some astute defending and goalkeeping denied any further goals.

Courtesy of this drawn encounter, the Gaurs’ hopes of qualifying for the knockouts of the Durand Cup have taken a slight downshift. They will, however, secure a berth in the quarterfinals provided they register a win against Downtown Heroes in their final group stage clash on Wednesday and in doing so, also maintain a better goal difference than NorthEast United.

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By IANS Updated: Aug 12, 2023 7:55:44 pm
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