Hero Indian Super League semi-finalists FC Goa will create history as they will become the first Indian club to play in the group stage of the AFC Champions League. The Gaurs will face Qatar’s Al Rayyan SC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa in their opening clash of Group E on Wednesday.
The club’s head coach Juan Ferrando, who did a fine job for the team in his maiden season of the Hero ISL, stated that his side is happy with the preparations before the important clash.
“We have prepared well over last few days because this is an important moment for the club, an important moment for Indian football. We are working hard, because we know about the opponents, we know about the level and these games [will be] high intensity,” Ferrando told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
Ferrando added that the young players will need to take the onus. The Spainiard opined: “For me, [what’s] most important is responsibility. This squad is young, but it is the philosophy of this club… working with the young players, helping the young players. It’s very important to focus game by game.”
The chief coach also revealed the reason to leave out Golden Boot winner Igor Angulo out of the squad. Angulo had scored 14 goals in the seventh season of the ISL. However, as only four overseas were allowed as per the rules, out of which one had to be from AFC-affiliated nation, Angulo had to miss out.
Ferrando added that Angulo was left out to bolster the team’s defence.
“The decision was taken at the last moment because we have some problems in defence. We need some players in defence, now this is the last decision. Of course, he [Angulo] is a very important player in our positional attack but no worries, no excuses, this is the rule, this is our squad, we believe in all the players,” Ferrando said.
FC Goa will aim to come up with a collective effort against Al Rayyan SC and deliver the goods. Edu Bedia will look to lead from the front in the big match.