Asia surrenders to Juan Ferrando's FC Goa

A year ago he defined his life as “bullshit” and now he is receiving praise from all over Asia. Juan Ferrando, who in January 2020 contracted a bacterium that caused him to lose his vision, now trains FC Goa and in his debut in the AFC Champions League got a creditable draw (0-0) against Laurent Blanc's Al Rayyan. “We are happy, but we have to improve,” said the Spaniard after a meeting that is already part of the history of football in India.

Blanc and Yacine Brahimi, with pasts in some of the best leagues in the world, captured the attention at the start of a new edition of the AFC Champions League. Nobody counted on Juan and his boys, who appeared in front of a whole continent without any kind of complex and snatching the ball from one of the three big clubs in Qatar. “No one would have been surprised if we had won, but give Goa the credit it deserves. They defended very well, “acknowledged Blanc after the match.

“This is not our limit,” advanced Juan Ferrando, who lined up three Spanish footballers -Iván González, whose performance was colossal, Edu Bedia and Jorge Ortiz- in a night that is already part of the history of football in Goa and India. Although other clubs such as Mohun Bagan or East Bengal managed to participate in the extinct Asian Club Championship, no Hindu entity had had the opportunity to play the AFC Champions League since its re-founding in 2002. FC Goa achieved it after the increase of clubs involved – in 2021 it went from 32 to 40 – and the goal is for India, the second most populated around the world, start to make your mark on the football scene.

Despite the euphoria, Juan Ferrando insisted that “there are still five games left in the group stage,” which will take on Iran's biggest club, Persepolis, and the Emiratis from Al Wahda. India currently ranks 105th in the FIFA rankings, but his representative in the AFC Champions League is willing to show the growth that his Superliga has experienced in recent seasons. Goa landed in continental competition like a 'punching bag', but in his debut against Al Rayyan he showed that he also knows how to hit back.