It was an entertaining evening at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda as the battle for playoffs continued. FC Goa and NorthEast United FC went home with one point each, keeping both of them within a close distance from the playoff spots.
The Highlanders had taken the lead after the break by virtue of a powerful header from Victor Mendy. However, the home side leveled it in the 80th minute with an equally boisterous shot from Reinaldo.
The visitors had the first chance in the 5th minute from a corner. It was a precise header by Carlos Javier Lopez which was saved by some last ditch defending by Leo Moura. NorthEast goalkeeper T.P. Rehenesh was called into action as Dudu was lurking around to draw first blood. But the goalie fended off the Nigerian to prevent the goal.
It was an end to end match as Francis Dadzie had a chance to give the lead to the visitors. But FC Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani made a comfortable collection in the end. That was the only contribution from the Ghanian striker as he was subbed off with an injury. Mendy made way for the striker, raising eyebrows as Nico Velez was the obvious choice.
Nevertheless, the away team continued with their attacking forays and Sanju Pradhan had his shot parried away by the FC Goa custodian, Kattimani. But their best chance fell to Bruno Aria, minutes before half time. He made a darting run with the ball but somehow failed to hit the target.
After the break, a fiery header from Cedric Hengbart rattled the woodwork. The away time had luck play against them as soon after FC Goa forced another save from NorthEast goalie Rehenesh.
It was a match where the momentum kept swinging and kept the crowd in rapt attention. FC Goa had another chance from a long range effort from Jonatan Lucca.
But finally the away side could break the deadlock from a corner which was delivered impeccably by marquee man Simao Sabrosa. Mendy leapt the highest and headed in thunderously to make it 1-0.
The home team took the game to NorthEast as the wingers threatened to draw level with their dangerous crosses. Ultimately, it Reinaldo scored the equalizer in the last 10 minutes. Moura had a perfect header, setting up his fellow Brazilian to rifle it between the legs of onrushing Rehenesh.
In the dying stages, Moura could have clinched all three points but his shot went wide of the goal. On the other hand, substitute Hali Charan Narzary had a shot saved by Kattimani to end the game 1-1.The draw took FC Goa to the second spot with 19 points and NorthEast United FC to fourth with 17 points.