NorthEast United to face strong Goans at home

Guwahati: Having stumbled to a defeat in their previous encounter, FC Goa need to pull up their socks as they clash with a lacklustre NorthEast United in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash here on Thursday.

The Goans, who began the league with a smooth 2-0 win over Delhi Dynamos, held defending champions Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) to a 1-1 draw in another home tie, before finishing on the wrong side of a 4-0 scoreline against heavyweights Chennaiyin FC.

Arriving in this northeast Indian city for their first away clash, Brazilian legend Zico’s charges need to overcome the absence of his compatriot and marquee Lucio – benched following a muscle strain. Spanish midfielder Jofre Mateu is also doubtful for the encounter as he limped off the field against Chennaiyin.

Up against a team which is yet to open their points kitty, the Goans would rely on the likes Brazilian Leonardo Moura, Mandar Rao Desai and Romeo Fernandez to put it across NorthEast United who have lost both their matches.

NorthEast United, wooden spooners in the previous edition of the tournament, crashed to a 1-3 defeat against Kerala Blasters before finishing with a 0-1 loss opposite FC Pune City.

Cesar Farais will be hoping against hope for a turnaround in his fortune so as to get off the mark on the points table at their own backyard.

Leading the charge for the men-in-white will be Argentine forward Nicolas Velez alongwith local talent Holicharan Narzary.