FC Goa defense were once again strong enough to grab a point against lacklustre Al Wahda side. The UAE club was held to a goalless draw by the debut Indian club in the Group E clash on AFC Champions League game.
The Gaurs went in to the game with their similair starting eleven which they had against Qatari side Al Rayyan. Ishan Pandita played up front as the lone striker for the Goan club. While, Romario and Oritz were supporting him from the flanks.
Al Wahda came in to this game after a defeat against Iran’s Persepolis FC. Tim Matavz started the game for the Abu Dhabi club as the number nine, while Matar was playing right behind him from the attacking midfield position.
Al Wahda showed intent from the start to score and take away the early lead. However, Juan Ferrando’s side were brave enough to pass the ball around the defensive area with ease. Dheeraj Singh was kept on his toes by the pacy wingers of Al Wahda.
Goan midfielder Glan Martins was on top yet again for the Gaurs against the UAE Pro League club. Brandon Fernandes had good link-up play with Glan Martins in the middle of the park. Fares Jumaa got the first real chance to test Dheeraj Singh on goal, but went straight in to hands of the keeper.
Ismaeil Matar proved to be a constant threat for the Goan defense, who threaded beautiful balls to split defense. Tim Matavz did take a shot before half-time against Dheeraj, but couldn’t beat the shot-stopper. Al Wahda displayed a clear intent at the start of second-half via Lucas Pimenta’s header, which went wide.
The Indian side had a great opportunity when Jorge Ortiz played a wonderful ball behind the defense to Brandon, who provided a decent cross inside the box. But, Devendra Murgoakar, who came in for Ishan Pandita couldn’t send it past Al Shamsi inside the box.
It was Dheeraj, who stole the show in closing stages of the game especially when Matar took charge of the free-kick. Matar’s wonderful free-kick was palmed away by Dheeraj to keep the scoreline to 0-0. FC Goa are now second in the Group E after Persepolis defeated Al Rayyan 1-3 in Goa on Saturday.
M. Al Shamsi-7.3; Al Karbi-7.0, Lucas Pimenta-7.4, Fares Juma-7.6, Ahmed Rashid-7.0; Matar-7.2, Abdulla Salmeen-6.1, Joo Lee-6.9; Ibrahim-7.3, Tim Matavz-7.1, Kharbin-7.1;
Subs: Al Harbi-6.8
Dheeraj Singh-8.5; Seriton Fernandes-6.9, Ivan Gonzalez-7.4, James Donachie-7.4, Sanson Pereira-6.9; Edu Bedia-6.7, Glan Martins-7.5; Brandon Fernandes-7.6, Romario-6.4, Jorge Ortiz-6.9; Ishan Pandita-6.6;
Subs: Saviour Gama-6.3, Devendra Murgoakar-6.4, Adil Khan-NA