AFC Champions League 2021: FC Goa vs. Persepolis, 3 Gaurs to watch out for

posted in Specials by Souvik Roy Chowdhury on 23rd April 2021

posted in Specials

by Souvik Roy Chowdhury

on 23rd April 2021

AFC Champions League 2021: FC Goa vs. Persepolis, 3 Gaurs to watch out for

The most impressive thing about FC Goa’s performances so far in the AFC Champions League is the fact that they have truly shown that they belong here. The Gaurs under Juan Ferrando are no pushovers as they come into each game with a designated game plan which they have executed to a satisfactory degree of success. 

Representing the hope of a nation, FC Goa has shown that with a sound plan and approach, Indian football can truly take the hits head-on when up against the big names of the continent and still have enough to impart some pain of their own.

Rubbing shoulders with the best in the business, in terms of Asian football doesn’t seem to be a thing that overwhelms them. Two fighting draws against Al Wahda and Al Rayyan (which on better days could even have been wins) were followed by the first defeat at the hands of Iranian powerhouse Persepolis. Even then, the Gaurs showed their typical grit to come out only a goal short of their opponents.

And now, the second act of their dance with Persepolis comes on Friday night as the Gaurs look to give the Iranian side another stiff challenge. Who are the ones who will play a vital role as FC Goa look to forge another positive result? Here are three Gaurs you should watch out for.

#1 Princeton Rebello

After having missed out on the opening two games in the AFC Champions League, Princeton Rebello will be looking to make up for last time. The young central midfielder came on in the second half of the contest last time around and helped Juan Ferrando’s men have better control of the proceedings in the middle of the park.

The youngster has slowly become a regular face on the pitch for the Gaurs with his tenacity and guile on the ball drawing a lot of praise. He will again have to be at his tenacious best as they look to challenge one of the best sides in Asia. 

#2 Amarjit Singh Kiyam

Amarjit Singh Kiyam, FC Goa vs Persepolis, AFC Champions League - 700x375

The youngster came on as a first-half substitute in the last game with the Gaurs chasing the game after falling down 1-2 early on in the first half in the previous game against Persepolis and this time with Edu Bedia out with a suspension, it won’t be a surprise for us all to see him start his first game in the AFC Champions League. 

The former captain of the India U17 side that took part in the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2017, Amarit has grown up to be another gritty figure at the middle of the park and has already earned his first national call up and cap. The man from Manipur will have to provide the backline with extra cover while being fleet-footed enough to find space and passes when asked to. All easier said than done.

But against the best in Asia, Amarjit will have to come up big if the Gaurs are to get anything from the game.

#3 James Donachie

James Donachie, FC Goa vs Al Wahda, AFC Champions League - 700x375

During FC Goa’s ACL campaign, the Australian has looked one of the more controlled figures out in the middle. The Australian lends a real physicality to Juan Ferrando’s backline whilst being comfortable on the ball when the moment requires one to be. 

He has been a fulcrum of the side – not only whilst defending against the sides but also in lending a helping hand in terms of building up from the back. Alongside Edu Bedia, the two centre backs – Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie have been instrumental in helping the Gaurs eke out possession on the pitch and in effect, points from the games. 

With Persepolis looking to seal their spot at the top of the table with a win in this game, the eyes will again be on the big Australian as the Gaurs look to thwart them in their plans.