FC Goa were beaten 2-1 by Iranian champions Persepolis at the Fatorda on Tuesday. After two draws in their first two games, this is Goa's first defeat. They are now 3rd in the table behind Persepolis (9 points, 3 wins in 3) and Al Wahda (4 points, they beat Al Rayyan with a last minute goal earlier on Tuesday).
The night had started in astounding fashion for Goa - with Edu Bedia heading in a lovely Brandon Fernandes freekick in the 14th minute.
Goa had a superb chance to double their lead within a couple of minutes. Edu slalomed his way through midfield before slipping in Brandon in what would have been a role-reversal from the first goal. Brandon, though, took a touch too many and his shot was saved superbly by Hamed Lak.
This would cost them, as the lead however lasted just 4 minutes. James Donachie was adjudged to have committed a foul in the penalty box and Mehdi Torabi tucked in the resulting penalty.
Goa had a different XI on the field. With Alexander Romario suspended, Juan Ferrando adopted a conservative approach playing Adil Khan in a deep defensive midfield role and Saviour Gama on the wings with Jorge Ortiz the lone man up top.
A designated home game for Persepolis, the Iranian side were on the front foot immediately after bagging their first goal. That pressure told soon, with Jalal Hosseini heading them into the lead in the 24th minute.
Persepolis were all over Goa soon, dominating the ball and the rhythm of the match. Their movement and quick passing caused trouble for the organized Goa backline, and in the 39th minute, Donachie conceded another penalty.
Dheeraj Singh, though, has been sensational through the tournament, and superbly saved Vahid Amiri's strike. Another smart save low down to his right would be the last action of the first half.
The second half saw Persepolis dominating the game, again, but the Goan defence held firm. With Amarjit Singh and Devendra Murgaonkar on, Goa's attacking shape was much better and they stitched together some promising bits of play.
Persepolis' midfield and defence, though, was impenetrable as the fact that Goa had only one shot on target in the second half.
Goa now play Persepolis again in the reverse fixture (Goa, the designated home side) on the Friday, April 23 at 10.30 PM IST.