FC Goa vs Persepolis FC in AFC Champions League: FC Goa 0-2 down against Persepolis at half-time. After putting up some memorable performances in the first half of the group stage, FC Goa suffered yet another crushing defeat to Iran’s Persepolis 0-4 in a Group E match of the AFC Champions League at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Friday. The defeat meant, Goa slumped to 3rd spot on the group table with two points from 4 matches while Persepolis FC extended their run at the top of the group with an all-win record, scoring 12 points from 4 matches.
Ishan Pandita and Devendra Murgaokar led the line for the Gaurs, while Naveen Kumar replaced the in-form Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem in goal. There were also starts for Redeem Tlang, Amarjit Singh, Princeton Rebello, Leander D’Cunha and Alexander Romario Jesuraj.
FC Goa vs Persepolis FC: After 24 four minutes of sparring and Goa holding their ground, Persepolis finally gained the advantage as a slide-rule pass played into the path of Shahriyar Moghanlu, who decided to shoot the first time. The left-footed effort was hit straight at the goalkeeper, but Naveen failed to get down low in a hurry, giving the Iranians the lead.
Goa’s stern resistance was broken, and they offered only one real effort on goal in the first half, coming from Alexander Romario around ten minutes after they conceded the opener.
The Goan nerves at the back showed again in the 43rd minute as Naveen fumbled a cross into the box and before miscommunication resulted in him fouling Issa Alekasir in the penalty area and in the process, conceding a spot-kick.
The penalty was converted by Mehdi Torabi – his second from the spot in as many games against the Gaurs.
FC Goa vs Persepolis FC: There was hope that the second half would bring some joy for the Men in Orange but that optimism disappeared quickly as Alekasir cut inside from the left and fired a shot past Naveen from inside the penalty area to make it 3-0 within two minutes of the restart.
Juan Ferrando decided to look to his bench for some impetus, but that decision came with troubles of its own.
Mohamed Ali came on for his first piece of the action, and off his first touch, handed Persepolis a fourth as he failed to clear inside his own penalty area, and Kamal Kamyabinia was on hand to smash home in the 58th minute and pile on the misery for the hosts.
Naveen Kumar did make a couple of decent stops as the half went on, but the Iranian giants continued the pressure as they hit the post via a header from Mehdi Mehdikhani in the 73rd minute and enjoyed the luxury of replacing several of their top players to keep them fresh for future matches.
In terms of positives, Makan Chothe looked lively as he got some minutes under his belt, and Jorge Ortiz managed a shot on target deep into stoppage time, but Persepolis dominated throughout and saw the game out to take home three points for the fourth game running in the AFC Champions League.
FC Goa will hope for a better performance as they get ready to take on Al Rayyan on Monday, 26th April. That game is slated for a 10:30 PM kick-off.
FC Goa full squad:
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem
Defenders: Sanson Pereira, Seriton Fernandes, Leander D’Cunha, Iván González (Spain), Mohamed Ali, James Donachie (Australia), Aibanbha Dohling, Saviour Gama, Adil Khan
Midfielders: Edu Bedia (Spain), Glan Martins, Princeton Rebello, Brandon Fernandes, Phrangki Buam, Redeem Tlang, Makan Winkle Chothe, Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Romeo Fernandes
Forwards: Jorge Ortiz (Spain), Devendra Murgaonkar, Ishan Pandita