New Delhi [India], April 15 (ANI): FC Goa coach Juan Ferrando believes that the point earned against Al Rayyan SC in their first AFC Champions League Group E match will enable all to know more about the state of Indian football.
"This is a good moment for Indian football -- simply because now everybody will know more about Indian football. Five or six years ago when you were talking about Indian Football, many didn't feel much. I feel it's very important at this stage that the clubs work in the Academies and make their players aware of such a massive competition as the Champions League," Ferrando said in an official AIFF release.
FC Goa, the first Indian club to ever participate in the AFC Champions League, held Qatar's Al Rayyan SC to a goalless draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda, Margao on Wednesday. The match was played behind closed doors owing to the covid protocol.
Referring to his players not being nervous at all, Ferrando expressed: "In the training sessions, we just kept reminding the players about the significance of the AFC Champions League almost every day.
"We told them to pay attention as this isn't easy. We told them to pay attention as these are difficult games. We also told them to control their emotions. It was important to believe in yourself," he explained.
FC Goa put on a sensational defensive display to hold Al Rayyan to a 0-0 draw in their AFC Champions League opener. Ferrando gave Ishan Pandita his first start in FC Goa colours as James Donachie and Ivan Gonzalez started as the favoured pair at the back. There was also a start for Sanson Pereira and Brandon Fernandes, the latter's availability serving as a real boost after the Indian international missed a chunk of the ISL season owing to injury.
"We earned a point against Laurent Blanc's team -- he had won the World Cup in 1998. It was very difficult. We are happy with this point, but as a coach, we need to improve more as a tactical team. We still have 5 more games to go," Ferrando added.
FC Goa next play Al Wahda FSCC in their second match on April 17. (ANI)