The Gaurs ended their continental campaign with a defeat in the final fixture.

FC Goa tasted defeat in their last Group E fixture of the 2021 AFC Champions League. The Indian Super League outfit went down to Al Wahda 0-2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday. The historical debut campaign for the Indian club led by Clifford Miranda in Juan Ferrando’s absence, thereby came to an end with the conclusion of this match.

The Gaurs fielded an all-Indian lineup since the foreign players and coach Ferrando left for their respective home countries. Following a strong display in the first half which ended on even terms, the hosts lost the game in the second. 

Miranda spoke to the media in the post-match interaction, answered questions and presented his views on the game:

Playing without foreigners

The tactician gave his opinion on the level of difficulty experienced without the availability of foreign players. At the same time, he also spoke in regard to the Indian players and how motivating the situation was for them.

Clifford Miranda said, “It is always difficult when you don’t have the players who have been playing regularly in the previous matches. The positive side of it was the opportunity for the (Indian) players to perform. I am so happy and proud of these players, they played extremely well. Maybe, with a few more details, we could have had a result.”

The preparation

Clifford Miranda was also quizzed about how difficult it was to prepare for the game against Al Wahda, in particular given the situation of the foreign players and coaching staff having left India. To this, he replied, “To be honest, it’s not different because we had a set plan and we had another (backup) plan.

“The boss makes a plan and we both execute it on the pitch. It was the same thing, he made a plan. I just had to execute it. The difficult part was that you had to play a game every two days.”

Performance overview

The 38-year-old also spoke in reference to the position of the team in the group standings. He spoke in regard to how it fails to reflect the level of performance the team has showcased in the last two weeks. “I am glad that people have noticed this,” he said.

“In hindsight, when the draw was announced, who must have thought that Goa will finish third and have these many points in this group, where there was last year’s runners-up Persepolis with Al Wahda and Al Rayyan? Nobody gave us a chance. But, credit to these players, for doing such a fantastic job with so many difficulties. We have been in the bubble for the last seven months, but I must say it’s a fantastic performance from the players. The credit must go to Juan as well as the club for making this step to play in the premier tournament in Asia,” the former Indian international further added.

The way forward

Clifford Miranda concluded by expressing his opinion regarding the future roadmap for FC Goa, since their ACL campaign has now finished.

“I am sure the club will want to participate in these types of tournaments every year. This is the way we can improve Indian football. The ultimate aim of the club should be to try and be in this tournament every year,” he signed off.

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