Guwahati: NorthEast United FC capitalised on a debatable penalty decision as they held FC Goa to a 1-1 draw in a high intensity Indian Super League match here on Sunday.
Playing their third match at home on the trot in the space of seven days, NorthEast United conceded a goal in the 17th minute after their goalkeeper T P Rehenesh made a blunder but they got the equaliser in the 36th minute through a penalty kick conversion at the Indira Gandhi Stadium.
The home side, who had won a game and lost one before today's match, were the better side for most part of the contest but their forwards failed to convert the chances that came their way.
Today's result meant that Brazillian legend Zico will have to wait for his side's first win in the tournament as they had lost their opening match 1-2 to Chennaiyin FC at home on October 15.
The full-to-the-brim home crowd were on to their feet as Joan Capdevila's free-kick took a wicked deflection as early as the ninth minute but Czech goalkeeper Jan Seda was upto the task as he re-adjusted his position quickly to dive to his right and tip the ball off to safety. Despite the NorthEast United doing all the attack, it was the Goan side who took the lead from a horrible goalkeeping by Rehenesh who started today in place of former Greek World Cupper Alexandros Tzorvas under the bar.
Rehenesh spilled the ball in what should have been a comfortable take from Andre Santos' free-kick which led to a mad scramble inside the six-yard box and Gregory Arnolin finally poked it home.
NorthEast United equalised after referee D Gantar from Canada pointed to the dreaded spot after Debabrata Roy fouled Robin Gurung from behind in an aerial duel just on the edge of the box.
Roy did make a contact but it was a tight call whether the foul merited a penalty kick though the incident happened just a few yards away from the referee.
Spanish player Sergio Contreras Pardo (Koke) stepped up to the spot and slotted home to the left as the keeper dived the other way to level the match 1-1.
John Abraham co-owned North East side dominated the second half also with more possession, attack and shots at goal but no goal came. Either the finishing touch of the final pass did not come.
The crosses from the flanks were either poor or there was nobody to connect them to the opposition goal. A Durga Boro left-footed drive from inside the box in the 63rd minute went over.
A beautiful cross in the 53rd minute by Do Dong-Hyun could not connected by Isaac Chansa, who also missed another chance four minutes later. For the Goan side, Ranti Martins thought he had scored in the 71st minute only to see the assistant referee raising the flag for off-side. The two yellow cards in the match were shown to NorthEast players Isaac Chansa and Do Dong-Hyun.