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FC Goa were held to a 1-1 draw by NorthEast United here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa. It was the Highlanders who took the lead from the spot in an action-packed first half, but their joy was short-lived as Igor Angulo brought the Gaurs back into the game just 2 minutes later.

Juan Ferrando made 3 changes to the starting line-up for the second game running. Aibanbha Dohling was awarded his first-ever ISL start, coming in for James Donachie. Further up the field, Brandon Fernandes was given his first start of the season while Jorge Ortiz returned to the starting XI as well.

The Gaurs were on the front foot right from the get-go with the first shot on target coming on the 5th minute itself as Jorge Ortiz cut in from the right before unleashing a fierce effort on target.

Despite dominance in terms of possession, it was NorthEast who scored first against the run of play on the 40th-minute mark after the referee deemed Ivan Gonzalez to have brought Idrissa Sylla down in the box. The man from Ghana picked himself up to slot the ball in from the resulting penalty.

The Highlanders’ lead, though, didn’t last long. 2 minutes later Brandon Fernandes shimmied on the left wing to get the better of Provat Lakra before putting a sumptuous ball into the box. That delivery was met by an even more precise touch from the boots of Igor Angulo; the Spaniard guiding the ball to the back of the net with a first time finish that left Shubashish Roy Chowdhury in the NorthEast goal without a prayer.

Brandon and Angulo combined again a few minutes later when the midfielder curled another one in – this time from the left side of the field. The Spaniard again found space in the box but couldn’t keep his header on target this time around.

Dominant 2nd half for the Gaurs

The Gaurs were the fastest off the blocks when play resumed after half time. A set-piece routine found Aiban pop up on the left-wing in the 48th minute. A good delivery from the defender was met by Angulo yet again in the middle. The Spaniard, though, didn’t time his jump to perfection and put his glancing header just wide of the target.

FC Goa kept the pedal to the metal and came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the 84th minute when Alberto Noguera struck the upright with a furious shot from the edge of the box.

Goa, playing in their away colours for the game, dominated possession for most of the second half and threw the kitchen in the closing stages, but failed to find the winner in the remaining minutes.

The Gaurs will be back in action on 6th November when they take on Kerala Blasters at Fatorda. The game is slated for a 7:30 pm kickoff.