FC Goa will take on Persepolis FC in their third AFC Champions League encounter on Tuesday night, looking to build on their momentum after securing a draw in each of their two games in the competition.
Ahead of this titanic clash, let’s take a look at how the two teams compare, and who could be the men capable of making a difference.
If there is one word to define FC Goa’s AFC Champions League campaign so far it is defiant. Nobody really gave the Gaurs much of a chance to make a mark at the continental stage heading into this tournament, but the results have proved otherwise.
Two straight goalless draws have left the Men in Orange in second place in their group as they have well and truly set the cat amongst the pigeons.
Goa are the only team yet to concede a goal out of the four teams in Group E, but know that they will need to start looking promising in attack if they are to get any further in the continental tournament.
“It is important to score goals,” said FC Goa Head Coach Juan Ferrando ahead of the game against Persepolis.
“But at the same time it is difficult. We are going to face a very tough team in Persepolis. We are taking things one step and one game at a time.”
“Every game we’ve played in the AFC Champions League is important. For now, the most important game for me is tomorrow against Persepolis.”
“The only way for us to improve as FC Goa is to play in this competition and face these tough opponents like Persepolis, Al Wahda and Al Rayyan. The exposure we get will help us develop further and Indian football as well.”
Devendra Murgaonkar impressed off the bench for the Gaurs against Al Wahda, while Glan Martins, James Donachie and Dheeraj Singh were all equally impressive, making them a very hard team to beat.
Juan Ferrando, though, will be missing the services of the hard-working Alexander Romario Jesuraj after the winger picked up a booking in each of his last two games.
FC Goa take on Iranian side Persepolis FC, who are no strangers to life in the AFC Champions League. The side finished runners-up in the 2018 and 2020 editions of the Champions League, and are already setting the pace in Group E as well.
Persepolis have won two games out of two, and easily look like the strongest outfit in a group that was considered one of the toughest when the draw was prepared. The defending Iran Pro League champions were 1-0 victors in their first game against Al Wahda, and came from behind to defeat Al Rayyan 3-1 in their second outing, grabbing six points out of a possible six.
Persepolis are also unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, and also boast of the best offensive record in Group E thus far, scoring four times and conceding just once.
Shahriar Moghanlou scored twice in the game against Al Rayyan, while Seyed Jalal Hosseini has been solid at the back for Persepolis, even scoring against Al Wahda in the team’s first Group E match. These two are just a couple out of some very dangerous players in the Iranian Champions’ rich squad.
This is a big game in many ways. Iran and India both have populations that live for sport, and a competitive fire has been brewing between both sides ever since it was confirmed that FC Goa would be India’s first representatives in the AFC Champions League.
The tightest defence meets the highest scoring side in Group E, and this promises to be a contest worth waiting for.
Make sure you catch all the action as these titans collide live at 10:30pm on Tuesday, April 20.