FC Goa show they belong here in their AFC Champions League debut

With two draws against middle eastern heavyweights and a close 1-2 loss against one of the best in Asia, FC Goa has shown that they belong here in the AFC Championship League.

It has been a dream run for FC Goa till now in their maiden AFC Champions League; having scored two points in the first two games, Goa scored the opening goal of their campaign yesterday before going down to the most formidable team in their group – Persepolis.

Being the first Indian team to play in the AFC Champions League, FC Goa has already surpassed many fan’s expectations to draw their first two games and score 2 points in their debut season in the ACL. They were magnificent in their first two games, where they faced Al-Rayyan and Al Wahda. Even after being the underdogs, they have given a toe-to-toe fight to their oppositions. The credits must go to Goa’s rock-hard defence and the exceptional Dheeraj Singh in the back. The former U17 World Cup star has shown his class enough to impress everyone in India and worldwide.

Coach Juan Ferrando has studied the opponent’s high attacking gameplay, and therefore, he used the strategy to play defensive. He also made sure that they make the most out of counter-attacks. In the starting two games, the Gaurs almost scored in both of them, but luck wasn’t on their side. In the first game Goa earned a clear penalty, but the referee’s decision went in Al-Rayyan’s favour, and in the second game, Brandon Fernandes almost scored, but it hit the post.

Captain Edu Bedia has held the midfield excellently, while Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins and Jorge Ortiz have shown enough spark to carve out a couple of good chances. Defender Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie both have done well in the defence to keep their much-fancied opponents at bay.

Meanwhile, one player who stands out is the wall of FC Goa Dheeraj Singh! He has been simply unbeatable, as he kept two clean sheets in the first two games earning himself a place in the best XI of AFC Champions League match-day one.

Gaurs third encounter was up against the Iranian giants Persepolis. Against all odds, Goa took an early lead and scored their first-ever goal in the AFC Championship League. Brandon Fernandes’s sumptuous free-kick was well headed into the net by captain Edu Bedia.

In the first 15 minutes, Goa looked sharp and almost scored a second goal immigrated following the opener. But this scenario was soon changed as Persepolis showed why they are the best in Asia, scoring two goals in the next ten minutes.

Soon, the Iranian side took charge of the proceedings with their quick movements and attacking gameplay, but this was handled very well by Ferrando’s men, with Dheeraj once again stepping up his game, including an excellent Penalty save to keep his side in the match.

Despite the close loss, Goa will be pleased with their display so far and will be pumped up to play the same opponent again on Friday with the knowledge that they can breach their defences. They are currently 3rd in Group E and will hopefully look to finish in the top two places to make their way in the quarter-finals!

 

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

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