Goa: After putting up a brave fight in the previous match against the Iranian top-flight club on April 20, Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa suffered a crushing 0-4 defeat at the hands of Persepolis FC in their AFC Champions League Group Stage tie, which ended late on Friday.
On a disappointing night at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, a new-look FC Goa took to the pitch with head coach Juan Ferrando making eight changes to help his players recover from the fatigue of playing six games in the space on 20 days.
Ishan Pandita and Devendra Murgaokar led the line for FC Goa, while Naveen Kumar replaced the in-form Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem under the bar. There were also starts for Redeem Tlang, Amarjit Singh, Princeton Rebello, Leander D’Cunha and Alexander Romario Jesuraj.
After 24 minutes of sparring, Persepolis FC took the lead after a slide-rule pass played into the path of Shahriyar Moghanlu, whose powerful left-footer gave little time to FC Goa goalkeeper Naveen Kumar to intercept the shot.
The Goans were again at the receiving end in the 43rd minute after Naveen fouled Issa Alekasir in the penalty area and, in the process, conceded a spot kick. The penalty was converted by Mehdi Torabi — his second from the spot in as many games against FC Goa.
There was hope that the second half would bring some joy for the home side, but that optimism disappeared quickly as Alekasir cut inside from the left and fired a shot past Naveen from inside the penalty area to make it 3-0 within two minutes of the break.
Naveen did make a couple of decent stops as the half went on, but the Iranian giants continued to put pressure as they hit the post via a header from Mehdi Mehdikhani in the 73rd minute.
FC Goa will hope for a better performance when they take on Qatar’s Al Rayyan on April 26.