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ISL 2016| Alfaro brace makes two in two for NorthEast United

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©ISL media

ISL 2016| Alfaro brace makes two in two for NorthEast United

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SportsCafe Desk


NEUFC produced a professional 2-0 win against FC Goa with a brace from Emiliano Alfaro settling the tie in favour of the John Abraham-owned team. This was the first time NUEFC have won both of their opening two games in an ISL season and their first win over Goa in the competition’s young history.

NorthEast United XI: Subrata Paul(GK), Reagan Singh, Robin Gurung, Gustavo Lazzaretti(C), Mailson Alves, Wellington Priori, Koffi Christian N’dri, Katsumi Yusa, Rowllin Borges, Holicharan Narzary, Emiliano Alfaro.

FC Goa XI: Laxmikanth Kattimani(GK), Lucio(C), Rafael Dumas, Raju Gaikwad, Fulganco Cardozo, Sanjay Balmuchu, Trindade Goncalves, Richarlyson Felisbino, Mandar Rao Dessai, Joffre Mateu Gonzalez, Rafael Coelho Luiz.

Goa start the game with a purpose

ISL-2’s runner-ups FC Goa started the game better keeping the ball well with crisp passes in the midfield and looked more likely to create an opening. The first chance of the game, unsurprisingly, fell for FC Goa when Trindade's corner was met at the near post by Raju, but Subrata was up to the challenge. The resultant corner also was cleared comfortably by NorthEast.

The home fans had to wait till the 12th minute for their team to show signs of life, and the chance came when Romaric crossed the ball to Alfaro. Even though the striker missed the ball, Katsumi was there to pick up the pieces, but his shot was saved by Kattimani.

The chance seemed to energize the team, and in the 20th minute, they took a shock lead off a bizarre mistake by Goa keeper Laxmikanth Kattimani. Kattimani, who had the ball near the goalline, was hassled by Alfaro, and in an inexplicable moment the goalie ended up hitting Alfaro bang in the chest only to see the ball rebound and cross the goal line.

The goal changed the dynamic of the game as NorthEast started holding onto the ball better but were forced into an early change when Mailson Alves had to go off amid injury concerns to be replaced by former Spurs player Didier Zokora.

After Alfaro was booked for dissent, Mandar put a beautiful ball through for Jofre, but the Spaniard for once was unable to beat Subrata. Coelho kept the ball in play, but Cardozo's shot came within inches of getting the equalizer.

With no other chances coming till half time, Zico sent on Romeo Fernandes to replace Sanjay Balmuchu to add some much-needed pace to the Goa strike force.

Mandar Rao Desai received the first booking after the break for a late challenge on Katsumi Yusa. With no chances being created through open play, Trindade decided to take matters into his own hands with a shot from distance but it was saved by Subrata, who dived to his right to keep it out.

Alfaro doubles NorthEast's advantage

Things were about to get worse for the Goan side. Halicharan's wonderful flick opened up the Goan defense completely, and Alfaro provided a consummate finish to give the team from the NorthEast some breathing space. 2-0!

With Goa struggling to create chances Reinaldo tried his luck from distance but Subrata was up for the challenge again.

After the second goal, NorthEast were happy to just maintain their shape and play on the counter, but Goa looked a shadow of the team that made it all the way to the final last year.

The win makes it two out of two for NorthEast, and the game was the first time the team of the seven sisters was able to pull off a win against the Gaurs in three years.

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