The Highlanders will be eager to kick start their season on a positive note when they face FC Goa at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, today.
NorthEast United FC have tried but failed to win a place in the play-offs of the Hero Indian Super League for four successive years. It will be tough for the Highlanders to face FC Goa. Sergio Lobera has taken up charge of the Gaurs for the second season.
On the other hand, Eelco Schattorie has just been handed the reins. After the departure of Joao de Deus last season, the Dutch coach has coach had come in as an assistant coach.
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With the signing of Bartholomew Ogbeche, They now sport a completely different look in this season.
Croatian duo of Mato Grgic and Mislav Komorski will marshal the defence with Rowllin Borges playing the anchor role in midfield.
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“Last season I had the chance to play twice against Goa and in both games we got results – one win and one draw. They were both based on certain weaknesses that we spotted in their team. Hopefully, we can exploit them again. Having said that, we must remember that we have got a relatively new squad who will take time to get used to my methods whereas Goa have a more or less settled squad,” said Schattorie.
From the last two matches of the last season. Goa is leading with 1-0 in their face off’s with Northeast. On the second d last note Goa won over them by 2-1 and on the very last note of previous season they had drawn the game by 2 all.
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Goa’s defense had come under the scanner previous season and was their Achilles’ heel. A prolific attack bailed them out on many occasions but Lobera will be keen to ensure they are more solid at the back this time around, without compromising on their attacking instinct.
As Northeast exploits opponents with counters , they will look forward for the same. But if the strategy is different this year it is difficult to hold on for Goa in their very first match of Hero ISL 2018-19. But the players are much confident to lock a win over Northeast.
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As Lobera said before the match day, “We will definitely work on our defending this season. It is true that in order to improve on the defensive part of the team, we have to limit our attacking abilities slightly. But having the team we had last season, we broke so many scoring records. We have a team which is built to be offensive. I always prefer to win a match 5-2 than 1-0.”