Maiden victory eludes FC Goa after late goal from Al Rayyan SC
FC Goa were held to a 1-1 draw by Al Rayyan SC in their Group E (West Region) clash of the AFC Champions League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Monday night. The Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) outfit took an early lead courtesy of Jorge Ortiz and came really close to securing a historic maiden win in the prestigious continental competition but they were denied by a late goal from the Qatari club.
- Jorge Ortiz broke the deadlock just three minutes into the game.
- Substitute Ali Farydoon scored the equalising goal for the Qatari club in the 89th minute.
It took Ortiz just three minutes to give FC Goa the lead against Laurent Blanc’s men. Brandon Fernandes floated the ball over the opposition defence and Ortiz raced ahead to attempt a shot. Although Lions goalkeeper Saud Abdullah managed to deny Ortiz’s initial effort, the Spaniard collected the rebound and slotted the ball into the net to the great delight of his team-mates.
After taking an early lead, the Gaurs absorbed much of the pressure thereafter from Al Rayyan SC, with Dheeraj Singh making a low save to block Yohan Boli’s shot in the 9th minute. Naif Al Hadhrami found some space in the Gaurs’ defensive third and attempted a volley from a cross in the 29th minute but the tame effort was easily caught by the FC Goa goalkeeper.
Dheeraj denied Boli for a second time in the 40th minute after punching away the forward’s freekick. FC Goa attempted to double the lead on the counter. Ishan Pandita’s long-range effort was saved by Abdullah before Ivan Gonzalez made a crucial interception in his own penalty area a minute later to keep their single-goal advantage intact at the break.
Abdulrahman Al Korbi almost equalised for Al Rayyan SC in the opening minutes of the second period but the shot was saved by the young FC Goa goalkeeper yet again. With the Al Rayyan SC players bursting forward in search of the equaliser, most of the Gaurs’ chances were on the counter-attack. Glan Martins came closest to doubling the lead in the 72nd minute but his long-ranger went over the crossbar.
Just when the three points seemed to be in the bag for the Gaurs, Al Rayyan SC grabbed the equalising goal in the 89th minute. Dheeraj was unable to hold on a pass during an attack and it fell to substitute Ali Farydoon who poked it into the net without any delay.
In the final minute of injury time, Khalid Muftah attempted a low shot from the left side of the box which was brilliantly saved by Dheeraj to keep the score level at 1-1. The Gaurs were left disappointed after being unable to win being so close, although Al Wahda’s 1-0 win over Persepolis FC earlier in the day had confirmed their elimination from the competition. Juan Ferrando’s men will now play their last game against Emirati club Al Wahda on Thursday.