Football

AFC Champions League | FC Goa looks to put its best foot forward

Sweating it out: FC Goa’s Glan Martins at a training session ahead of the match against Al Wahda.  

A historic first-ever point achieved in its previous match, FC Goa will look to put its best foot forward and hope for a victory in its second group match of the AFC Champions League against UAE’s Al Wahda here on Saturday.

FC Goa became the first Indian team to earn a point in the tournament after a goalless draw against Qatar’s Al Rayyan in its opening Group E match on Wednesday.

Now, Juan Ferrando’s men are expected to approach their next game differently, hoping to log three points against Al Wahda.

The Abu Dhabi-based side holds the edge, having a superior continental experience with 12 previous appearances in the ACL, but FC Goa will take confidence from the fact that it could hold at bay repeated attacks from a strong Al Rayyan.

Limited chances

FC Goa had limited chances in front of the opposition goal in its previous match and Ferrando wants his players to be more adventurous in the attack.

“We earned a point in the last match and we are obviously looking to improve and continue in the same way in our next match. It’s important to have control in the way we attack, especially in the final third,” Ferrando said ahead of Saturday’s match.

“The most important aspect is to work as a unit and stay focused. We did what was needed in the first game. I’m happy with how the team played in defence and we needed some improvements in attack.”

On the opposition, Ferrando said: “They are a very attacking side. We need to keep the ball more to make it easier for us.”

Key players

Centre-back Gonzalez will have his task cut out while captain Edu Bedia will be the ever present force in the midfield. Jorge Ortiz and Ishan Pandita are expected to deliver the goals.

Al Wahda will be coming into Saturday’s match after a 1-0 loss to Persepolis FC in its opening match on Wednesday.

The team will be boosted by the return of captain and veteran UAE international Ismael Matar, who made a cameo in the second half against Persepolis. Tim Matavz will lead the attack alongside Khalil Al Hammadi.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 4:25:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/afc-champions-league-fc-goa-looks-to-put-its-best-foot-forward/article34338295.ece

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