Wednesday night will see two in-form teams go up against each other as FC Goa pay their last visit to the Tilak Maidan Stadium this league season to take on red hot NorthEast United.
Juan Ferrando’s men remain unbeaten at Tilak (the club’s practice ground during their inaugural campaign in 2014). The Gaurs clinched come-from-behind last-minute wins against Jamshedpur FC and Hyderabad FC at the stadium before another come back saw them share the spoils against SC East Bengal.
Up against them will be a rejuvenated NorthEast United – who have seemingly turned a corner under Khalid Jameel. The new Head Coach has inspired them to win in all of their last three games and remain undefeated in their last four.
The scalps have also been impressive. The Highlanders first dealt a blow to fellow playoff contenders Jamshedpur FC before scripting victories over ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City – both teams perched at the top of the standings at the time of writing.
The Gaurs, though, will go into this game with much confidence as well. Juan Ferrando’s men are still undefeated this calendar year and last tasted defeat against Chennaiyin – more than a month and a half back. And whilst their performances have been inconsistent of late, there are many positives that Goa can take confidence from.
So what will happen when these two in-form teams go head on at the Tilak Stadium? What do the history books say? Do the numbers reflect something special?
Here are 10 things you should know:
0: In 13 games between the sides, there has never been a goalless draw. In fact, a minimum of two goals have always been scored in matches between FC Goa and NorthEast United.
1: NorthEast United have kept one clean sheet ever in games against FC Goa. The Highlanders have not a kept a clean sheet against the Gaurs in any of their last 8 games against the defending league champions. Their only clean sheet against Goa came in the 2016 season when they won their home leg 2-0 thanks to a brace from Emiliano Alfaro. The Gaurs have only been able to keep a clean sheet twice.
3: This is the first time in ISL history that the Gaurs have drawn three games on the trot. Juan Ferrando has seen his men share the spoils with ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters and SC East Bengal in their last three games to currently stand fourth on the table with 21 points from 14 games.
3: This is also the first time that NorthEast United has won three games in a row during a single Hero Indian Super League season. The only other time they won three in a row was when they finished off their 2015 campaign with two wins and then began their campaign in 2016 with a win as well.
4: Igor Angulo’s goal against SC East Bengal took him to 10 goals for the season and means that the Gaurs have a double-digit goalscorer for the 4th season running. Angulo, in fact, became the fourth player in club history to achieve the milestone following Ferran Corominas (3x), Manuel Lanzarote (1x) and Hugo Boumous (1x). Bartholomew Ogbeche’s haul of 12 goals in the 2018/19 season is the only time a player in the NorthEast United shirt was in double figures for the game.
6 – No team in the Hero Indian Super League has got as many penalties as NorthEast united so far this season. The Highlanders have been awarded 6 penalties, of which 4 have been converted. The Gaurs have been awarded a penalty only once this season.
7 – Goa come into the game at the back of a 7-game unbeaten streak. If they can avoid a loss on Thursday night against NorthEast, Juan Ferrando’s men will equal their own club record of going without a defeat in the league stage in a single ISL season. They last went eight games unbeaten to close out their 2014 campaign.
8- NorthEast have not been able to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 8 games. The Highlanders’ last clean sheet came in a 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin FC on December 13.
15.7: No other team commits as many fouls in a game as NorthEast United. The Highlanders average 15.7 fouls per game. FC Goa, on the other hand, commit 14.4 – the fourth most.
1125: FC Goa have not lost any of the last six encounters against NorthEast United (2 wins and 4 draws). When the two teams meet on Wednesday night, the Gaurs would have not lost a game against the Highlanders in 1125 days. Their last loss came on January 6, 2018 when NorthEast United came out on top 2-1 thanks to goals from Marcinho and Seiminlen Doungel.