FC Goa suffered first AFC Champions League defeat against Persepolis FC
FC Goa were beaten 2-1 by Iranian champions Persepolis at the Fatorda on Tuesday. After two draws in their first two games, this is Goa's first defeat. The night had started in astounding fashion for Goa - with Edu Bedia heading in a lovely Brandon Fernandes freekick in the 14th minute. Edu Bedia scored the first goal for an Indian club in Asia's premier continental competition, but it turned out to be a mere consolation as Mahdi Torabi and Jalal Hosseini's goals ensured Persepolis FC walked away with three points.
Goa had a different XI on the field. With Alexander Romario suspended, Juan Ferrando adopted a conservative approach playing Adil Khan in a deep defensive midfield role and Saviour Gama on the wings with Jorge Ortiz the lone man up top.
Dheeraj Singh saved a penalty for FC Goa in the first half
Dheeraj Singh was called into action in the 39th minute when he had to save Vahid Amiri's shot from close range. Three minutes later, Ivan Gonzalez conceded a penalty by fouling Ehsan Pahlavan inside the box. But this time Dheeraj got a foot on Ahmad Noorollahi's penalty and saved his effort.
Persepolis FC started the second half from where they left off. Within the first twenty seconds, Torabi tried to score a goal by chipping the ball above FC Goa's custodian. However, Dheeraj was alert to palm the ball out of play. In the 48th minute, Al Kasir found the back of the net by placing the ball into an empty net but he was judged marginally offside. Neither team had any more clear cut chance and the game ended as a 2-1 defeat for FC Goa.
He said, "Persepolis are very experienced with very good players. Talking about my team, of course, I'm not happy. [We made] a lot of mistakes and lost the ball in many situations. Of course, the players are very tired and two or three players played with an injury. So it was very difficult to play to our 100 per cent. Now for me, the most important (thing) is the recovery because in another two days (Friday) we will play against Persepolis again. We hope to improve in the details because, in the end, it's more important that all players try to do their best on the pitch. But playing against Persepolis, it's only possible to say good words about them. We will change the line-up. Some players are very tired and some players have one yellow card. So we have to pay attention. It's necessary to think about these details. Today maybe we were a bit nervous or stressed to play against one of the best teams in Asia. But now it's time to keep calm and prepare a new plan because the most important (thing) is the psychology of the dressing room."