Ali Ferydoon’s late equalizer canceled Jorge Ortiz’s opener for FC Goa, as the Gaurs missed out on a golden opportunity to get their first win in the AFC Champions League.
Earlier, Al Wahda’s win over Persepolis FC meant that Goa was out of the qualifying race even before playing their final two matches. Going into the game with nothing to lose, Goa started against Al Rayyan pretty assertively- pressing and passing well. A moment of brilliance from Brandon Fernandes found Jorge Ortiz with a lobbed long-ball as the Spaniard went past the Al Rayyan goalkeeper and put the ball into the back of the net. However, it didn’t take too long for Laurent Blanc’s side to try and return to the match, but Goa continued to maintain their shape and press and denied the visitors any chance to equalize.
As usual, 21-year-old Dheeraj Singh dropped yet another solid performance last night. His first involvement in the game was a brilliant save with his feet to deny Yahan Boli a goal in the 13th minute. Dheeraj then once again saved Juan Ferrando’s ship when Boli yet again questioned the Goan defense and fired in a powerful shot only to be denied by the young custodian. An excellent save in the dying minutes of the game capped off a top-notch performance by him yet again.
FC Goa managed a total of 8 shots but only 3 of them were on target. A couple of good chances created by Bedia and Ortiz were squandered as FC Goa players, instead of keeping their composure, repeatedly attempted shots from outside the box only for them to be off-target. A 55th-minute attempt on goal by Ishan Pandita was denied by the referee who decided not to play FC Goa at advantage after a tackle on Jorge Ortiz and instead blew the whistle for a freekick just as Pandita went past the goalkeeper.
Goa dominated the opening period but Al Rayyan soon managed to creep back into the game. They wasted a couple of chances which were largely created due to FC Goa losing possession easily near the box. Eventually, Al Rayyan drew level when Dheeraj Singh made a mess of Abdelaziz’s cross into the box, and substitute Ali Farydoon netted comfortably from the rebound.
Al Rayyan head coach Laurent Blanc was a happy man post-match, “Goa played defensively throughout, we took advantage of their mistake, and scored. We dominated the match completely. And happy with the performance of the young players“
Goa once again dropped two points after another frustrating draw and are still looking for their first win in the tournament. They are currently ranked 3rd in Group-E. The Gaurs face Al Wahda next on 29th April in their penultimate AFC Champions League game.