Khalid Jamil guided NorthEast United FC to a third-place finish in the league table last season but they are yet to get anywhere near that form this season. The Highlanders will look to bounce back from the disappointing start to the season when they host FC Goa in the seventeenth match of the Indian Super League 2021-22 season.
On the other hand, FC Goa who qualified for the playoffs last season by finishing just below Northeast United FC are having a similar story like the Highlanders this season. Both the teams are yet to get their first three points from a match. Here are five things to expect from the match between Northeast United FC and FC Goa.
Khalid vs Juan
Khalid Jamil and Juan Ferrando have been two of the most versatile coaches in the Indian Super League last season. Khalid Jamil took Northeast United up to the third place with a great unbeaten run. The Spaniard Juan Ferrando who has previously done something similar with Volos FC in Greece did a great job with FC Goa last season. Both clubs are currently struggling to get their first three points from a match and are currently at the bottom of the table with Northeast United at the 10th and FC Goa at the 11th. It will be interesting to see who will pick three points from today's encounter.
Injury crisis for the Highlanders
Northeast United FC are currently struggling with injuries as their two captains Hernan Santana and Federico Gallego are injured along with their Jamaican striker Deshron Brown. Northeast United FC officially announced that Gallego has been ruled out due to the injury that he picked up during the match against Chennaiyin FC and will not be part of the squad for the remainder of the season.
This has been a heavy blow on the Highlanders as they lost arguably the best player in their squad. Hernan Santana and Deshron Brown are expected to recover soon. With five foreigners remaining in the squad, it will be a hard challenge for Khalid Jamil against FC Goa.
Indian talents on display
Both Northeast United and FC Goa have been supplying some great Indian talents to the nation for the past seven years. With the new 4+2 rule, more Indians are getting chances in the ISL this season. With only three foreign players available for squad selection, Northeast United will be playing with eight Indians in their starting lineup against the Gaurs.
Whereas in the previous two matches, FC Goa have tried two different combinations upfront and at the back. Coach Juan Ferrando will be trying new combinations to find stability in the squad to get back on winning tracks.
Tough Fight for three points
Both the outfits had a poor start to their campaign and with this game incoming, they will be looking forward to securing their first victory of this season. Going into the game, the coaches are expected to make necessary changes to their teams ahead of the game. The teams had some positives from their previous matches and the coaches would be looking to build on that.
FC Goa controlled 76% of ball possession against Jamshedpur FC and will try to enjoy the same, while Northeast United will again rely on their counter-attacking football. Both the teams lacked sharpness in attack in their previous matches. It will be interesting to see how both Khalid Jamil and Juan Ferrando will line up their men against each other.
The eighth edition of the Indian Super League has never disappointed us so far with fifty-six goals scored from sixteen games and just two goalless draws. But scoring goals has been a problem for both the Highlanders and the Gaurs. Both the teams have conceded six goals each but Northeast United have scored three goals whereas FC Goa have only scored just one goal in this new campaign.
With the injury of their Jamaican target man Deshron Brown and Mathias Coureur not finding a rhythm to score goals, things are more difficult for Northeast United whereas FC Goa who always find good goal-scoring strikers have not been able to give us a goal-fest in their first two matches. The Gaurs' only goal came from the boots of their 34-year-old Spanish striker Airam Cabrera against Jamshedpur last week. Both the teams will be hoping to score some goals and grab their first win of the new campaign.