The UAE-outfit finished second on the Group E table with 13 points from six matches.

Al Wahda FSCC gave themselves a bright chance of advancing to the 2021 AFC Champions League Round of 16 after defeating FC Goa 2-0 in their final Group E match on Thursday.

With Persepolis FC of the Islamic Republic of Iran having sealed top spot in Group E following an emphatic 4-2 win over Al Rayyan in the earlier match, the best Al Wahda could hope for going into the match against FC Goa was to advance to the Round of 16 as one of the best three second-placed finishers.

They did just that with the win taking Henk ten Cate’s side to 13 points, which places them in a favourable position for a last 16 spot.

The UAE side started brightly, with Lee Myung-joo making an attempt from a difficult angle from the right misses to the left.

That was to set the tone for the match as Al Wahda poured forward in search of the opening goal while FC Goa were content to soak up the pressure.

FC Goa’s Dheeraj Singh, who has been a revelation in the 2021 AFC Champions League, was kept busy with the custodian first denying Tim Matavz’s right footed shot with his feet and then diving full stretch to turn Omar Khrbin’s header in the 29th minute for a corner.

Such was Al Wahda’s domination that the half time stats read 12 shots on target for the UAE club to FC Goa’s three but crucially, the score remained level.

Having seen his side control the match without being rewarded, head coach Henk ten Cate sent his team out with the same instructions – to press on for the goal they desperately needed.

Al Wahda seized control immediately and Lee Myung-joo came close just two minutes in, with his effort just missing the left upright.

Dheeraj Singh came to FC Goa’s rescue once again in the 52nd minute, saving with his palm after an exchange of passes saw Khrbin through on goal.

FC Goa’s resistance, however, was finally broken in the 61st minute when Glan Martins lost the ball in midfield, with Matavz surging into the box before relaying the ball to Khrbin, who slotted home.

FC Goa suffered a blow in the 69th minute when Dheeraj Singh had to be replaced by Naveen Kumar with the substitute goalkeeper beaten by Mohammed Al Menhali jin the 89th minute following an exchange of quick passes as Al Wahda clinched the win they needed.

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