Former FC Goa defender Pena praises team for ACL showing

Former FC Goa defender, Spain’s Carlos Pena, was all praise for the Indian Super League (ISL) team’s head coach Juan Ferrando and his boys after they finished third in the AFC Champions League (ACL) Group Stage recently.

Up against top Asian teams, such as Qatar’s Al Rayyan, UAE’s Al Wahda and Iran’s Persepolis FC in Group E, FC Goa did well to draw three games. Barring one game, against Persepolis FC which they lost 0-4, the game against Al Wahda was evenly contested with the Goan outfit losing 1-2.

Pena, who played an important role in FC Goa finishing as league leaders in the 2019-20 ISL season, said, “They (FC Goa) faced the best teams in Asia. Nobody expected this scoreline (their performance) as three matches were drawn and we were close to winning one match.”

The 37-year-old, who played two seasons in FC Goa colours and scored two goals and provided one assist in his 39 ISL appearances, was also instrumental in the team winning its first silverware when they lifted the Hero Super Cup in 2018-19.

Pena added that coach and staff “have to be very proud of their players”.

“There were a couple of occasions when they (FC Goa) could have won with a little bit of luck, particularly in the second leg against Al Rayyan where they led the contest till the 89th minute. The match eventually ended in a 1-1 draw,” added Pena.