Dubai: A depleted FC Goa side were beaten 2-0 by Al Wahda in their final AFC Champions League match on Thursday night at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa. The home side were without the services of all their foreign players as well as head coach Juan Ferrando due to the coronavirus pandemic situation.
The result means that the Gaurs finished third in Group E in their maiden appearance in the tournament with three points to their name.
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The foreign contingent were all forced to leave for Spain abruptly, which meant 11 Indian players took the pitch for the first time in AFC Champions League history. It was a great opportunity for all the players involved, but when the opening whistle blew, it became clear that the team was more than willing to put up a real fight.
Al Wahda, coming into the game at the back of three successive wins, were full of confidence, and bombarded the Goan penalty area in the first half, leading to a host of decent chances, but goalkeeper but Dheeraj Singh kept them out.
More of the same came the home side’s way once the second half began, but Dheeraj was once again equal to the task.
Omar Khribin finally broke the deadlock in the 61st minute of the game. The forward was found inside the penalty area by Tim Matavz, and this time he smashed the ball home to make it 1-0 to Al Wahda.
Despite stiff resistance, Al Wahda got their second goal just before the end of the match as captain Mohammed Barqesh Al Menhali found the back of the net.
The Abu Dhabi side moved on to 13 points in Group E behind group winners Persepolis who finished with 15 points.
As for FC Goa, they finished with 3 points after three fighting draws, and took third spot ahead of Al Rayyan.