ISL 2020-21, FCG vs NEUFC talking points: Coaches' ugly spat, Brandon's class

ISL 2020: Two first half goals on either side saw NorthEast United FC draw 1-1 against FC Goa to maintain its unbeaten run in the Indian Super League 2020-21.

A scrappy second half saw NEUFC and FC Goa settle for a 1-1 draw at the Fatorda Stadium.   -  sportzpics

FC Goa, which is without a win in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season after three games, and NorthEast United FC, which is without a loss in as many outings, clashed at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Monday in a match full of drama as chances were created at both ends in the first half.

NorthEast took the lead in the 40th minute after Idrissa Sylla slotted home a retake of the penalty he had won a minute earlier. Three minutes later, Goa went level after Brandon Fernandes sent a fizzing cross into the box for Igor Angulo to finish. The second half saw no goals as the match ended 1-1, helping NorthEast to move second in the standings.

Here are the talking points from the exciting encounter:

Brandon once again the key for Goa

FC Goa might’ve lost most of its star attackers to other clubs for the 2020-21 season, but midfielder Brandon Fernandes chose to stay with the Gaurs and he could be key if the club is to compete for a spot in the top four. The Indian international, who struggled with injuries last season, was in superb touch against NorthEast.

He controlled the tempo of the game in the opening half as he picked out his teammates in the final third with ease to keep the NorthEast defence on its toes. He waltzed past NUEFC’s tackles, creating three chances and had a shot blocked during his 61-minute stay on the pitch. He deservedly bagged an assist when he sent a looping cross for Angulo to finish into the far corner for the equaliser.

ISL 2020-21 news: NorthEast holds FC Goa to 1-1 draw, maintains unbeaten run  

NorthEast’s defence is its strength

The early aggression from kickoff for Goa should have resulted in more than a single goal, but the NEUFC backline, led by Benjamin Lambot and Dylan Fox, was up to the task in keeping the strong attack from the Gaurs in check.

The centre-back pairing of Fox and Lambot was excellent as they made 18 clearances, successfully blocked four shots and made two successful interceptions. Despite conceding a goal due to an excellent finish by Angulo, NEUFC withstood pressure throughout the second half to see out a draw.

Nus-Ferrando spat gets ugly

FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando and his NorthEast United FC counterpart Gerard Nus were involved in a heated confrontation in the second half. Intervention from the fourth official and two yellow cards seemed to have settled matters when things got nasty.

Minutes after the bust-up, Goa midfielder Alberto Noguera ran for the ball for a throw-in and deliberately pushed Nus to the ground. However, it was Ferrando’s reaction that soured things as the Goa head coach laughed and applauded his player’s petulant act. The referee did not react as Nus looked on in disbelief. It is to be seen if the behaviour goes unpunished by the league.