Guwahati: Goa FC recovered from an early blow to beat NorthEast United FC 3-1 in a third round Indian Super League (ISL) encounter at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, here yesterday.
FC Goa Mandar Rao Dessai celebrates the 3rd goal against North East United during the Indian Super League (ISL) match at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. Pic/PTI
The hosts opened the scoring through Francis Dadzie (12th minute) before Jonathan Lucca (28th), Reinaldo (30th) and Mandar Rao Desai (70th) struck for the visitors.
Cesar Farias named an unchanged side which played FC Pune but the side went on to suffer its third successive defeat.
They continue to remain at the bottom of the eight-team event while Goa FC are now at the second spot with seven points from four matches. Zico made as many as five changes to the Goan team, which had lost 4-0 to Chennaiyin FC.
Laxmikant Katiimani, CS Sabeeth, Jonatan Lucca, Bikramjit Singh and Luciano Sabrosa made their way into the first team. NorthEast United's defence was maintaining a high line as Reinaldo came twice to being through on ball but was flagged offside inside the first 10 minutes.
The home team took the lead when Raju Yumnam¿s cross from the left found Sanju Pradhan on the right. He rounded off Debabrata Roy and crossed for Francis Dadzie at the far post who headed home with ease.
Eight minutes later, Pradhan had another chance as he breezed past Roy on the right and crossed for Dadzie which he couldn't connect under pressure from Gregory Arnolin. In the 27th minute, Silas and Kamara combined with the latter finding Pradhan in plenty of space. The winger's cross was too close to Kattimani this time around.
FC Goa replied back in the 28th minute when Sabeeth ran down the left and found Jofre on the edge of the box. The Spaniard laid it back for Jonatan Lucca who curled it inside with his right foot.
Two minutes later, Reinaldo doubled the score-line. Leo Moura found Jofre in space who cut inside and his shot took a deflection off Hengbart. Reinaldo under pressure from Ralte slid it in to make it 2-1.
Thereafter, the visitors upped the ante and continued to attack in numbers. In the first half injury time, Jofre kick-started a counterattack with Reinaldo with the Brazilian sending Sabeeth in the clear.
The former Mohun Bagan striker couldn¿t get his shot away with Bracigliano off his line but the rebound fell for Jofre who was brought down by the French goalkeeper but the referee chose not to award the penalty surprisingly.
Ten minutes into the second half and Jofre released Reinaldo on the left and the Brazilian's ball across the face of goal only needed a touch with Sabeeth falling short by an inch or two.
At the hour mark, Hengbart saw his header go straight into the hands of Kattimani from a Reagan Singh cross. Mandar Rao Dessai had an immediate impact as he was on the score-sheet just three minutes after coming on for Jofre.
Reinaldo passed for Moura who sent a ball between Reagan and Ralte for the onrushing Mandar. The Goan winger slid the ball home into the far post with Bracigliano coming off his line to close down the angle.
Velez had a chance to pull one back for his side when he got on the end of a Hengbart flick but his first time effort went over the bar, much to the disappointment of Farias. Mandar could have scored his second of the evening in the 79th minute but the woodwork came to the home team's rescue.
The best chance of the match fell for Reinaldo. The Brazilian was found in acres of space by Roy who made a good run down the left. Reinaldo looked to curl it into the far post but his effort went wide. NorthEast had a couple of half chances in the final five minutes but couldn't make it count.