Champions League: FC Goa want to bow out with heads held high


Indian Super League (ISL) club FC Goa will be hoping to bow out of the AFC Champions League qualification round with their heads held high when they take on Emirati side Al Wahda on Thursday.

The top Indian club’s chances of making it to the knockout round of the premier continental tournament have evaporated following three stalemates and consecutive defeats against Iran’s footballing powerhouse Persepolis FC.

The Juan Ferrando-coached side — who have three points in Group E — would look to at least have one consolation victory under their belt when they play Al Wahda in their last outing.

Ahead of the tie, FC Goa defender Seriton Fernandes said the morale of the team was still very high and wanted to “win this one for the people of India”.

“If we win (against Al Wahda), we will dedicate it to the people of India. We will approach the last game like any other, with a view to get all three points. We have never wavered from that stance and we will continue to look for a victory, irrespective of who the opponent is. That’s what we are all about,” said Fernandes.

FC Goa head coach Ferrando underlined the importance of improving on the results that the team has produced so far.

“We need to improve further. In football, we need to always think about where the points would come from. We are not thinking about the last game anymore. It is time to focus on the next game and find the best XI for that one,” said Ferrando.

Ferrando said that competing alongside the best continental sides was a great learning experience. “The Champions League is a very difficult tournament. It has been a great experience for us, and we need to use this to improve further.”

While Seriton was disappointed FC Goa could not garner three points against Al Rayyan on Monday after the Indian club conceded the equaliser in the last minute, he echoed Ferrando’s sentiments, saying that the AFC Champions League was an “experience to remember”.

“We were disappointed (after the draw against Al Rayyan). We were very close to a win. It was a tough game and just goes to show that you can’t lose concentration even for a minute in this competition,” the 28-year-old said.

“It’s been an experience to remember. We have all gained so much confidence, having played at this level. And now that we have had a taste of it, we want more. We want to be back in the Champions League,” said Seriton.