AFC Champions League 2021 Preview: FC Goa vs Al Wahda

The third match of the 2021 AFC Champions League Group E will see Indian Super League (ISL) club FC Goa taking on UAE-based club Al Wahda at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa on Saturday. 

FC Goa created history on Wednesday after they became the first-ever Indian team to play in the Asian Champions League (AFC). Goa’s first games against Qatari club Al-Rayyan SC ended in goalless draw, handing them their first point in the tournament. Goa did enough to keep Laurent Blanc’s Al Rayyan at bay. The Gaurs only had one shot target as opposed to Rayyan’s three.

One major decision that FC Goa coach Juan Ferrando made was to go with two foreign center-backs. Goa needed two foreign center-backs who could play with the ball both James Donachie and Ivan Gonzales were instrumental in Goa’s draw against the Qatari side.

Al Wahda lost their opening match to Perspolis 1-0 and currently sit at the bottom of Group E Al Wahda play in the UAE Pro League and are coached by former Ajax head coach Henk ten Cate. Their league campaign is ongoing and the club is currently placed eighth on the table, with 35 points from 23 matches.

Predicted Lineups

FC GOA: Dheeraj Singh, Fernandes, Donachie, González, Pereira, Bedia, Martins, Jesuraj, Fernandes, Ortiz, Ishan Pandita

AL WAHDA: Rashed Ali, Al Karbi, Pimenta, Juma, Rashid, Myung-joo Lee, Al Menhali, Esmaeel, Khribin, Al Hammadi, Matavz.

The tournament has a 3+1 rule, which allows all clubs to have at most four foreign players in their squad including a player from an AFC (Asian Football Federation) member association. FC Goa’s 0-0 draw with Al Rayyan has given hope to Indian football clubs that they can toe to toe with some of the best outfits in Asia.

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