AFC Champions League matches to go ahead despite night curfew in Goa

Goa is hosting all the group stage matches of Group E of the AFC Champions League. FC Goa is the first Indian football club to play in the continental tournament.

Fatorda Stadium, ISL FINAL

A view of the Fatorda stadium in Goa.   -  Aashin Prasad

The AFC Champions League matches in Goa will go as per schedule despite a curfew imposed in the state. 

Goa is hosting all the group stage matches of Group E of the AFC Champions League. FC Goa is the first Indian football club to play in the continental tournament.  

Goa has seen a steep rise in COVID-19 cases, recording over 1000 fresh cases on Wednesday. Addressing a press conference earlier in the day, Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant had announced that a night curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 6 am.

READ: Edu Bedia scores FC Goa's first AFC Champions League goal

The state had 8241 active cases as of April 20, as per the government's COVID-19 dashboard. The curfew, however, will not affect the football matches which are being held without fans at the Pandit Jawaharlal Stadium (Fatorda Stadium). Each matchday has two games, one at 8 pm and the other kicking off at 10:30 pm.  

Goa Sports Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar confirmed to Sportstar that the games can go ahead. "The closed-door matches and training sessions can continue as per schedule," he said. 

Apart from FC Goa, the other teams in Group E are Al Rayyan (Qatar), Al-Wahda (UAE) and Persepolis (Iran). The Indian club drew its opening two games against Al Rayyan and Al Wahda, before losing 2-1 to Persepolis.  The side, coached by Juan Ferrando, is currently third on the table and will return to action on Friday when it takes on Persepolis in the reverse fixture.