Ferrando rues mistakes after first defeat in AFC Champions League

Six-time Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) semi-finalists FC Goa suffered a narrow 2-1 loss against Iranian giants Persepolis FC in their third AFC Champions League outing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Tuesday night. A goal from skipper Edu Bedia opened FC Goa’s account in the tournament but the Group E (West Region) table-toppers and last year’s finalists responded quickly and scored two goals in the space of six minutes to turn things around.

At the post-match press conference, Gaurs head coach Juan Ferrando expressed his disappointment at the result but said the team could have done better if not for tiredness and injury to a few players. “Persepolis are very experienced with very good players. Talking about my team, of course, I'm not happy. A lot of mistakes [they made] and lost the ball in many situations. Of course, the players are very tired and two or three players played with injury. So, it was very difficult to play to our 100 percent [ability],” the Spaniard said.

“Now for me, the most important [thing] is the recovery because in another two days [Friday] we will play against Persepolis again. We hope to improve in the details because, in the end, it's more important that all players try to do their best on the pitch,” the 40-year-old added.

Having played three matches in a week leading to some players being tired, Ferrando confirmed that the upcoming game will see a shake-up in the line-up. “We will change the line-up. Some players are very tired and some players have one yellow card. So, we have to pay attention. It's necessary to think about these details. Maybe we were a bit nervous or stressed to play against one of the best teams in Asia. But now it's time to keep calm and prepare a new plan because the most important [thing] is the psychology of the dressing room,” he said.

Ferrando also rued the absence of fans in the stadium – on account of the Covid-19 situation -- and said their presence will have brought out the best in his players. It may be noted that Goa is the venue for all Group E matches. “Brandon [Fernandes] was trying to run but it was very difficult, Glan [Martins] had a low battery, Edu was trying all the time but was very tired. Jorge [Ortiz], the same... At this moment, when your legs are not ready, maybe with supporters you can work more. When you're tired with only the coaching staff to push them in an empty stadium, it's not the same.”

The Gaurs are presently third in the group with two points from three matches and they are behind Persepolis FC (9 points from 3 games) and UAE’s Al Wahda (4 points from 3 games]. Qatari side Al Rayyan SC prop up the group with one point from three games.

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