Guwahati: Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro struck twice, including one via a horrendous error by rival goalkeeper, as NorthEast United FC beat FC Goa 2-0 to register their second consecutive win in the Indian Super League football in Guwahati on Tuesday.
FC Goa goalkeeper Laxmikanth Kattimani handed NorthEast United the lead on a platter in the 20th minute thanks to a howler when his desperate clearance deflected from Emiliano Alfaro onto his own goal.
Alfaro struck again in the 62nd minute to take the game away from FC Goa's reach at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati. NorthEast United had beaten Kerala Blasters in their campaign opener at the same venue on 1 October.
Both the teams were cagey at the start and took time to ascertain each other's strength and weakness.
The first chance of the day went to NorthEast United in the 12th minute. A fine cross from Koffi Christian saw Katsumi Yusa going for a shot but Kattimani made a diving safe.
NorthEast United did not have to wait for too long for the opening goal which was a gift from the FC Goa goalkeeper.
Captain Lucio's back-pass for the Goa goalkeeper should have been routine clearance but instead Kattimani waited on the ball, and when he tried to clear, the ball struck Alfaro and deflected into the goal much to the joy of the home crowd.
FC Goa tried to fight their way back and created two good chances towards the closing stages of the first half.
In the 38th minute, Mandar Rao Desai got past two defenders on the left and pulled the ball back for Jofre Gonzalez whose shot was blocked by NorthEast goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
Just a minute before half-time, NorthEast survived again. This time it was from a Jofre free-kick which an unmarked Lucio squared it across the goal but before it reached the dangerous Rafael Coelho, the ball hit Robin Gurung and fell safely into the hands of the goalkeeper.
In the second session, FC Goa continued to attack and the NorthEast goalkeeper had to make a double save. Mandar was the first to test Paul from close range and then a long ranger from Trindade Goncalves was again parried away by the goalkeeper.
NorthEast increased their lead in the 62nd minute with some brilliant play. A through ball from just beyond the half-way mark was flicked into Alfaro's path by Holicharan Narzary and the Uruguayan striker did well to beat Kattimani from a narrow angle. The ball went through Kattiman's legs into the net.
Alfaro should have scored his hat-trick in the 79th minute when he was within handshaking distance of the goal but his shot was saved on the line by Raju Gaekwad.