FC Goa eyes maiden win to remain in contention for ACL knockout round

FC Goa and Al Rayyan had played out a 0-0 draw in their earlier AFC Champions League Group E match though the Qatari side dominated a majority of the game.

FC Goa will be bolstered by the return of skipper Edu Bedia from suspension against Al Rayyan in the AFC Champions League on Monday. - ISL/Sportzpics

Back-to-back defeats may have dented its confidence but FC Goa's maiden campaign in the AFC Champions League (ACL) can still be revived if it beats Qatar's Al Rayyan in a reverse fixture in Margao on Monday.

The two sides played out a 0-0 draw in their earlier Group E match though the Qatari side had dominated a majority of the game.

While Al Rayyan -- on one point from four games -- is no longer in contention for a knockout berth after suffering three losses, FC Goa is still in the reckoning for a Round-of-16 spot with two points from four outings.

The Goan side, league stage winner of the 2019-20 Indian Super League, would also be chasing its maiden win at the ACL after starting with two goalless draws, the other one being against Al Wahda of the UAE.

Juan Ferrando's side was beaten 2-1 and 4-0 by last edition's runner-up Persepolis FC of Iran, showing the gulf in class when pitted against a top continental club.

The fancied Iranian side exposed the physical, technical and tactical inferiority of FC Goa in the last match though Ferrando rested a few first team players to preserve them for the last two group matches.

RELATED | Bengaluru FC's AFC Cup playoff match indefinitely postponed

Goalkeeper Naveen Kumar made two horrendous mistakes to let in goals and he is certain to be replaced by Moirangthem Dheeraj Singh who was brilliant under the bar.

FC Goa will also be bolstered by the return of captain Edu Bedia, who scored its historic first ACL goal against Persepolis, from suspension.

"Over 20 days, we have injuries and there is fatigue but it's very important to have a plan and do our best in the next two games," said Ferrando.

"We have our own plans and if it's not working, we will make the changes. It is not like we are stuck at a level and feel we can't perform. On the contrary, we are making changes in tactics to improve," he added.

World Cup winner Laurent Blanc's Qatari side sits at the bottom of the standings but the Frenchman is convinced that the outfit's position does not do justice to its quality.

"Yes it's true we are out of the competition but we're still not finished here. We will be motivated to perform our best against FC Goa tomorrow, not only for this club but also for Qatar,'' Blanc claimed.