Great opportunity to play against the best teams: FC Goa's Murgaokar

Goa, Apr 20 (IANS): Indian Super League (ISL) team FC Goa's forward Devendra Murgaokar said on Tuesday that it has been a great opportunity to play in the AFC Champions League (ACL) Group Stage, even though he had come out only as a substitute in the two games against Al-Rayyan and Al Wahda.

"I feel good. It was a good experience playing some real big games. These are the kind of games a footballer looks forward to," said Murgaokar ahead of the clash against powerhouse, Iran's Persepolis FC later on Tuesday.

FC Goa, who are the first team from India to play in the prestigious tournament, gave a good account of themselves in both the ACL Group E matches, holding the two top Gulf teams to goalless draws.

On whether he was surprised that his team was able to snatch a point against two very tough opponents, Murgaokar said, "Yes and no. We had to grow into the situations very quickly. We know that any mistake is going to be punished. So, our focus has really shown. Knowing the importance of playing as a team, every day we are pushing ourselves to be better."

Currently, FC Goa are placed second in Group E with two points from two draws and are only behind Persepolis FC, who have six points from two outings.

However, Murgaokar said there was still room for improvement. "I think we can do a lot better in the attacking aspect. We haven't scored a goal yet but we are getting closer. I hope that it comes very soon."

Brandon Fernandes, who almost scored against Al Wahda as one of his efforts hit the post, too is happy with FC Goa's showing in the top competition.

"It's definitely a great feeling. It's a big achievement for us to get these two points. Nobody expected us to give such a tough fight but we kept pushing and working hard and we will continue to push ourselves in the upcoming matches," he said.

The midfielder also believes head coach Juan Ferrando's formula and style of play is working for the team.

"This has been the style of FC Goa all along and the priority has been to maintain ball possession. The head coach has been guiding us through various aspects, especially in transitions and controlling the spaces, and the team is following it all very well," he said.



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