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AFC Champions League 2021: FC Goa to Take Table-Toppers Persepolis FC Head-On

FC Goa (Photo Credit: FCG Instagram)

FC Goa (Photo Credit: FCG Instagram)

The Goan side is the first Indian club to make it to a continent-wide competition, amassing great support for its impressive reputation so far

Securing two goalless draws in its first two games against AL-Rayyan and Al Wahda, FC Goa has proved its mettle as a club not to be taken lightly in the matches to come. The team will take on FC Persepolis, a side that holds the reputation of being at the throne of this season’s table, as well as the runners-up last season. With 1-0 and 3-1 victories against Al Wahda and Al Rayyan respectively, the Iranians will be a dauntless and formidable opponent for FC Goa going forward, but head coach Juan Ferrando’s approach to holding down the fort has given the team courage to push forward.

The Goans will be looking to expend goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh’s efforts, as his last few games have drawn up a spectacular nine saves, six of those comprising within a single match against Al Wahda.

“I feel like he is the best goalkeeper on match-day two," said Ferrando on the 20-year old’s performance.

“Dheeraj’s saves were very good. One thing for sure is that he needs to improve on his passing game because we know our style is to build up." Ferrando said.

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The goalkeeper, who was bought by the club in January earlier this year, will be defending blow after blow against a side that has made it to runners-up in 2019 and possesses a win streak of five matches across all competitions they have played in so far. With Seyed Jalal Hosseini on defense, Persepolis FC is looking to make a dominating entry into Jawaharlal Nehru stadium and flatten the Goans once and for all.

Also read: FC Goa Register Second AFC Champions League Point After Goalless with Al Wahda

Speaking about his side’s performance so far and the expectations that lay ahead of them, Fernando said,

“It’s not surprising because I know my squad wants to improve every day. It’s a pleasure for me to work with this coaching staff, these players.

“We have to control our emotions. It’s necessary to repeat some details and change the plan for Persepolis. We have to continue in the same way because it’s a very difficult competition," he added.

One side will go home on Tuesday, owing to the fact that only the winners will be allowed to climb up to the next stage.

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first published:April 20, 2021, 10:26 IST