ACL debutants F C Goa are set to give debutants a chance because of tired legs, as the games are coming thick and fast.
FC Goa will face Iranian champions Persepolis F C at the Fatorda stadium on Friday night in a Group E return leg fixture of the AFC Champions League. The Gaurs lost to Persepolis 2-1 three days ago and will be looking to redeem themselves against last year’s ACL runner-ups. Having played three games in the space of six days has taken a toll on the Gaurs. In their last game against Persepolis, the players looked tired towards the end of the game. Head coach Juan Ferrando is looking to give debutants a chance as he did not make too many changes in the first three games.
Goa held both Al-Rayyan of Qatar and Al-Wahda of UAE to a goalless to draw in its first two fixtures but lost 2-1 to Persepolis in its third game. Goa scored the first goal by an Indian club in ACL in their 2-1 loss. Edu Bedia scored the goal in the 14th minute but the Iranian team hit back with two goals in the 18th and 24th minute. Persepolis clearly dominated the game and Juan Ferrando’s side did not have the legs to match the Iranian side after two hard-fought goalless draw in the previous games.
Head coach Juan Ferrando migt be looking to rotate the squad and give debutants a chance. Ferrando said ahead of the match, “It can be tricky for all the teams to play six games in 20 days but it has not been that big of a problem for us. We need proper preparation after each match-day so that we can participate with the best possible condition,.”
“We know the next game will be difficult but this is the AFC Champions League and the expectations are big. I’m happy with the players and the way they have performed although there are some areas we need to improve.”
Talking about the team’s fitness concerns, Ferrando said, “Edu Bedia is a big doubt tomorrow. He suffered a knock from the (previous) match. It’s nothing serious but we will find out soon. The physio and therapist are working hard to nurse him back to match fitness.
“We will review the tactics tomorrow against Persepolis. We are going into the match with hope of performing better than we did in our previous game. As head coach, it’s my job to put the best line-up forward.”
FC Goa are placed third in Group E with two points from three games. Whereas, Persepolis are at the top of the points table with nine points from three games. Persepolis beat Al-Wahda 1-0 and Al-Rayyan 3-1 in its first two fixtures.
Persepolis clearly have an upper hand going into the fixture, but the Gaurs have shown in the previous games that they are a hard team to break down.