After a fantastic start to the season, NorthEast United FC seems to have hit a roadblock. The table toppers in the initial phase of the season, now finds themselves languishing in 7th position. Meanwhile FC Goa have to overcome demons of their own. The Gaurs are in the bottom of the pile and are looking for their first win at home.
NorthEast United FC
The Highlanders surprised all and sundry with their positive start to the season. The initial phase of the season saw NEUFC at its very best as they picked up back to back victories racking up six goals. However it was all downhill from there. Infact in their last four matches, they have only picked up a point and there is no team worse than them on current form going into the tie.
NEUFC seems to miss marksman Emilio Alfaro very badly, who scored five of the total six. Infact in his absence, goals seems to have dried up altogether. However they will have do without their talisman for another game tonight as the striker remains suspended for picking up four yellow cards.
Katsumi Yusa too has fizzled as the season progressed. However the only positive news coming is that star striker Nico Velez is fit again and is likely to be added into the scheme of things. The visitors will be keen to arrest their dip in form and will be looking to get back to the top half of table as soon as possible.
The message is loud and clear for FC Goa. If they are to have any chance of making to the play-offs, they need to win. And if they fail to do so, the odds will be stacked heavily against them to make it to the semis. The Gaurs are looking for their first win at home after all of their seven points have come on their travels.
Defence has been The Gaurs biggest problem with the team leaking 13 goals. And to compound on their woes their marquee player, defender Lucio hasn’t trained with the squad for some time now. The former Bayern Munich man, a vital cog in the defence in his heydays, has looked out of sorts in the tournament. And injuries to Julio Cesar, Jofre Mateo, Reinaldo hasn’t done the Konkan team any favours.
This has put head coach Zico under a tremendous amount of pressure. And it reflects in the post match conferences. After a string of poor signings in the summer, Goa have only themselves to blame for their predicament. In their home ground, the onus will be on the home ground to get their act together and pick up the required three points.
NEUFC: Nico Velez, Katsumi Yusa
FC Goa: Lucio, Rafael Coelho
Match starts 7 pm.