FC Goa put on a sensational defensive display to hold Al Rayyan to a 0-0 draw in their AFC Champions League opener at the Fatorda Stadium.
FC Goa held Qatar’s Al-Rayyan to a goalless draw at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday and became the first Indian team to earn a point in Asia’s Premier club competition. The Goa-based franchise took a bit of time to get into their rhythm as they looked scared in the first 10 minutes. However, once the nerves settled they started stitching passes and building up from the back, as we are used to seeing them play in the Indian Super League (ISL). Juan Ferrando’s side matched toe-to-toe with the Qatari side. Al-Rayyan were clearly the better side and created more clear cut chances, but the Indian club punched above their weight to match the Laurent Blanc coached side in every aspect of the game.
The Gaurs were forced to play a 4-1-4-1 formation for the most part of the game with Edu Bedia sitting in front of the defence and anchoring the midfield, while Ishan Pandita was the lone man up front. Pandita did not get too many chances as the ball was in the midfield of the Goan half for the most part of the game. The Kashmiri striker who recently made his international debut in UAE did show glimpses of his talent with his off the ball movements and hard work.
Brandon who was back to full fitness after an injury-hit seventh ISL season had a decent game in the midfield. Glan Martins who recently signed a contract extension with the Gaurs was exceptional alongside Edu Bedia in midfield winning the aerial duels, completing 90 percent of the passes and breaking the opposition play.
FC Goa displayed a disciplined defensive display as they made it hard for the Al-Rayyan attackers. Donachie and Gonzalez were solid at centre back and Seriton as usual was consistent at the right-back position with his relentless running and tackling.
FC Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh made an exceptional save in the 87th minute to deny Al-Rayyan the winner. The Manipuri goalkeeper had a very good game between the posts and denied the Al-Rayyan attackers on a number of occasions to keep a clean sheet and secure a point for the Gaurs.
FC Goa will next face the UAE side AL Wahda, who lost 0-1 to the Iranian club Persepolis. It will be a much more difficult game but the Gaurs will take so much of confidence from their last night’s performance and will be looking to take the momentum forward.