Apart from the collective efforts of both teams, these individual duels could also play a role in deciding the final result of the game.

Thanks to their historic draw against Al-Rayyan, FC Goa will be in high spirits ahead of their second AFC Champions League (ACL) 2021 game against Al Wahda on Saturday. The Indian Super League (ISL) outfit’s opponents lost their opening clash against Persepolis FC.

On Wednesday against Al-Rayyan, Juan Ferrando’s boys stuck in to ensure that their opponents could not score a goal. Ultimately, they came away with a historic first-ever point for an Indian team in the ACL. Despite that, they could approach the next game differently, hoping to find three points against the UAE-based club.

It goes without saying that both teams will be looking for their maiden victory in the competition. Once the two teams lock horns, all eyes will be on some individual battles that could decide the complexion of the game. Read on!

3. Tim Matavz Vs Ivan Gonzalez

Al Wahda’s attacking unit will be led by Tim Matavz. The Slovenian striker led the line against Persepolis FC in the first match of the group stage and looked a threatening presence upfront. A target man by nature, he held the ball well to play in fellow attacking players Khalil Al Hammadi and Omar Khribin. Matavz also had a decent opportunity to score against the team from Iran, but dragged his shot wide from 12-yards out.

FC Goa centre-back Ivan Gonzalez will have the duty to keep the striker at bay. His partner in defence, James Donachie will also need to help him out in times of need. Given the fact that Gonzalez is more of a leader at the back, man-marking responsibilities are more than likely to fall on his shoulders.

2. Khalil Ibrahim Al-Hammadi Vs Edu Bedia 

Khalil Al-Hammadi is likely to be the most serious threat for FC Goa’s defenders. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) forward played just behind striker Matavz against Persepolis. Also the side’s captain, he tried his best to inspire his teammates, but the Iranian club were too strong as opponents. However, the 27-year-old will relish the opportunity to hurt Goa when they take on each other on Saturday.

Edu Bedia will be present in the deep midfield role for the ISL outfit. The FC Goa skipper does a great, selfless job of providing cover to the centre-backs and must do the same against Al Wahda, who like to overload the midfield with numbers. He must track the movement of dangerous Al Hammadi and prevent him from taking advantage of any free space that may open up.

1. Lucas Pimenta Vs Jorge Ortiz 

Lucas Pimenta is a 20-year-old Brazilian defender who showed great maturity in the game against Persepolis FC, despite his young age. He is also one of the highly rated players in the team already. Breaching the Al Wahda defence will be tough due to Pimenta’s physicality and command in aerial situations.

FC Goa will be reliant on Jorge Ortiz to create something positive in the attacking third. The Spaniard was brilliant in holding the ball up the field for the Gaurs. He showed great control over the ball to dribble out of tough situations. Ortiz’s link-up play and quality could prove to be the inspiration that Ferrando’s men may need. Pimenta could find it difficult to keep a track of the attacker, with him constantly on the move around his attack partner Ishan Pandita. 

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