FC Goa’s recent AFC Champions League contest against Al Rayyan finished in a 1-1 stalemate despite the hosts leading the game for the majority. Substitute Ali Ferydoon’s goal in the 89th minute cancelled out Jorge Ortiz’s early goal and also earned the Qatari outfit a very crucial point as they suffered a hattrick of defeats before this.
Al Rayyan are still at the bottom of the group in terms of points and already knew that they have no chances to qualify even before this game. But still head coach Laurent Blanc was happy that his team could avoid defeat.
“I think it’s very difficult to take a point against a side like Goa,” said the French coach at the post-match press conference. “But, I’m happy for my players.
“To lose to Goa is very difficult to accept, but we never quit and responded with a late goal. Even though it’s just a draw, we still got an important point.”
It was a great effort from the Gaurs until a misjudgement from the defenders and then also a mistake from goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh which led to the goal scored by Ferydoon. The draw means that though FC Goa are also out of the race to qualify they also remain winless in this competition from a very dominating position.
Whereas Blanc lauded the spirit of his players as they went on attacking and never gave up. “It was important for us to get at least a point from the match as a defeat would’ve been detrimental,” said Laurent Blanc. “But, my players never gave up hope.”
The French tactician who earlier managed PSG made a horde of changes in the starting eleven. He revealed that most of the changes are forced ones as the players are either suffering from fatigue due to the tight schedule or are unavailable due to injuries or suspensions.
“I made some changes as it’s important to keep my players fit. We have a tight schedule and some players are fatigued. We also had some players suspended too (Ahmed Abdelmaqsoud and Franck Kom). So, it’s important to give others a chance too,” Blanc revealed.
“Some players in my squad are just 18 or 19-years old. They need more game-time. So, tonight, I put five new players in my XI. I’m happy for them. But, for the next match? I can’t say. We’ll have to evaluate the condition of our players,” he concluded.