ISL 2021: Belief, confidence in our abilities have taken an upswing after Champions League: Brandon Fernandes: FC Goa midfielder Brandon Fernandes feels the experience of playing in the AFC Champions League will help the Gaurs in the upcoming eighth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).
FC Goa finished third in Group E in their maiden appearance in the tournament thanks to three points owing to three draws. The Gaurs were beaten 0-2 by Al Wahda in their final AFC Champions League match at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda last month. But Brandon had a dream run as FC Goa netted two goals in their six Group E (West Region) matches and both were his assists. The 26-year-old midfielder feels FC Goa’s confidence has taken an upsurge after featuring in the AFC Champions League.
“There is no doubt about that (when asked if AFC Champions League experience will help FC Goa immensely in ISL). We knew the margins for error were really low and for us to get the best out of ourselves, we had to find our rhythm. That’s something we were able to do,” Indiansuperleague.com quoted Brandon as saying.
“The belief and confidence in our own abilities have also taken an upswing. These things should bode well for the coming season,” he added.
Brandon recalled FC Goa’s performances in the AFC Champions League and highlighted how the Gaurs improved after subsequent games.
“We grew in confidence with each passing game and by the end of the competition, a draw against the likes of Al Rayyan and Al Wahda were considered disappointments — the narrative had changed,” said Brandon.
“It was also a vindication that we can truly play at this level without compromising our philosophies. We had to defend and play without the ball a lot more than what we are used to,” he further said.
“However, we kept believing in ourselves, prepared well for every game tactically and were able to do most things right on most nights. This was a great lesson as to how team football can help overcome any difficulties,” Brandon added.
A total of 12 matches were held at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa from April 14 to April 29, featuring four teams in the group — debutants FC Goa (India), Persepolis (Iran), Al Wahda (UAE) and Al Rayyan (Qatar). It was also the first time that any AFC Champions League group stage match was held in India.