FC Goa here on merit, not by accident, states Persepolis head coach Golmohammadi

NEW DELHI: The AFC Champions League may have some of the biggest names in Asia, competing for the top prize, but FC Goa, the first-ever Indian representatives in Asia’s apex club competition, are right in there giving them a tough fight, and deservedly so, feels Yahya Golmohammadi, the head coach of potential title challengers Persepolis FC.

Having played two matches each, Persepolis currently stand at the top of Group E of the AFC Champions League with six points to their name. However, debutants FC Goa have been a surprise package, as they occupy second spot on the table, having earned two points from two goalless draws. Now, the top two sides in Group E are all set to face-off against each other at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa, a match that kicks-off at 10.30 PM IST on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.

“I saw both their matches, and they have been really working (hard), and been running a lot. It’s (FC Goa’s position on the table) not only surprising for us, but also for everyone else in the ACL,” said Golmohammadi on the eve of the match.

“From the mental aspect, they are on a real high, and they have been doing well on the technical aspect as well. It is not by accident that they stopped two good teams. They did it on merit,” continued Golmohammadi. “It will not be easy against them tomorrow. We need to concentrate hard because our rivals are very good at counter-attacking.”

Meanwhile, FC Goa have been riding the high waves after two draws against strong sides like Al Rayyan and Al Wahda. Ahead of their match against Persepolis, FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando said that it was akin to a “dream” for his side.

“This (playing at this level) is like a dream come true for us. We are just taking it game by game,” said Ferrando. “For us, it’s all about the Persepolis game right now. We are taking it game by game, and we are focused.”

FC Goa’s goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, who has impressed one and all with his performances, keeping two clean sheets in as many ACL appearances so far, believes that the playing time he has got at FC Goa has helped build his confidence.

“The World Cup (FIFA U-17) was a big thing for me, and that certainly helped build confidence. But for a young goalkeeper like me, it’s important to keep playing games. Luckily, I have been able to do that since I came to FC Goa,” said Dheeraj.

While he has faced difficult times in the recent seasons, Dheeraj feels that they have helped transform him into a better player.

“You don’t get everything as a player, and you need to use the difficult moments as a learning process as a player and as a human being,” said Dheeraj. “Since I’ve moved to Goa, I have worked hard, and the coach loves that I do that and play my natural game. That has helped me regain my confidence.”

While Goa currently occupy second spot in Group E, merely a second-place finish in the Group Stage does not guarantee qualification into the knockout stage. Only three best second-placed teams from the West Asian Groups – Groups A, B, C, D and E – will progress to the knockout stage. However, Ferrando is not thinking that far ahead about qualification just yet.

“From my point of view, the most important game is the next one, and we play Persepolis next. I love this competition, but we need to take it step by step. We will try to get more points, but it’s about the mentality. The players need this experience (of playing at this level),” stated Ferrando.

“It will not be easy, because Persepolis have a lot of experience already in the ACL. It is necessary in this case, that we work three times more than them. At the end, we need to maintain focus every second, tomorrow, or we may have big problems,” he said.



For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: Football is my life and I can sacrifice anything for this beautiful game- Bryce Miranda

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for all the latest happenings in the world of Indian football

Bengaluru FC Elite Youth Football Trials

Bengaluru Football Club is a professional club that competes in the Indian Super League (ISL) and are past champions of the I-League and ISL. The club has launched its Soccer…


Oscar SSE to conduct trials for Youth Teams

Mumbai based Oscar SSE will conduct trials for their youth teams on 12th December 2021 at Wings Sports Centre ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star AIFF Accredited Academy plying their…


BBFS set to conduct trials for Residential Academy

Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools Residential Academy are set to conduct trials for the 2022-23 season. Players born between 2005-2012 are eligible to take part. The trials will start from 14th…


Kenkre FC to conduct trials for their Youth team starting November 15

Mumbai based I league 2nd division outfit – Kenkre FC, will be conducting trials for their youth teams starting November 15th Kenkre FC had an excellent I league qualifiers campaign…


DK Pharma FC to conduct trials for MFA Elite Division

Mumbai Football Association Elite Division side D.K.Pharma FC will be conducting trials for their upcoming 2021-22 campaign. Having gradually come up in the Mumbai Football Pyramid, Badlapur based DK Pharma…


Lemon Break Sports FC to conduct trials for MFA 1st Division campaign

Lemon Break Sports FC is conducting trials for its first division side that will be playing in the MFA league for the upcoming season. Lemon Break SC is one of…


Kenkre FC to conduct trials for Senior Women’s Team

Mumbai-based Kenkre FC are slated to conduct trials for their Senior Women’s Football Team on the 9th of October at Neville Dsouza Ground, Bandra. Kenkre FC have long been regarded…


NLWS FC to hold trials for MDFA 3rd division

NLWS FC, a club based out of Dadar that will be playing in the MDFA 3rd division for the 2021-22 season will be holding trials next Sunday (10th October) Mauli…


Income Tax Football team to conduct trials for Elite Division Campaign

MDFA Elite Division side Income Tax Football team will be conducting trials for ‘Guest Players’ for its upcoming 2021-22 season. The team is now looking to rope in few ‘guest…


Oscar SSE to conduct trials for U 14 and U 16 category in Mumbai

Mumbai based Oscar SSE will conduct trials for their youth teams on 2nd and 3rd October at Wings Sports Centre ground. Oscar SSE is a 2-star AIFF Accredited Academy plying…