FC Goa suffered their first defeat in the 2021 AFC Champions League as they lost 1-2 to last year's runners-up Persepolis FC in their Group E encounter at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao.
Edu Bedia scored the first goal for an Indian club in Asia's premier continental competition, but it turned out to be a mere consolation as Mahdi Torabi and Jalal Hosseini's goals ensured Persepolis FC walked away with three points.
FC Goa made two changes to the starting line-up. Saviour Gama and Adil Khan made inroads for the suspended Alexander Romario Jesuraj and Ishan Pandita. Persepolis FC, on the other hand, made only one change as Omid Alishah went out for Isa Al Kasir.
The game started with FC Goa on the backfoot as Persepolis kept on surging forward. However, it was the local side that took the lead after Jorge Ortiz Mendoza won a foul on the right flank in the 12th minute. Brandon Fernandes swung an inch-perfect free-kick to find Edu Bedia and the Spaniard flicked the ball into the back of the net with a towering header.
Persepolis FC continued to pile bodies forward and were duly rewarded seven minutes later when James Donachie fouled Isa Al Kasir inside the box. Mahdi Torabi stepped up to take it and powered his shot into the bottom corner, sending FC Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh the wrong way.
Persepolis FC took the lead in the 24th minute when defender Jalal Hosseini scored a thumping header off a cross from Torabi. Eight minutes later, FC Goa got an opportunity to salvage a goal as Ortiz once again won a foul for his side. Bedia's header this time was inches wide.
Dheeraj Singh saved a penalty for FC Goa in the first half
Dheeraj Singh was called into action in the 39th minute when he had to save Vahid Amiri's shot from close range. Three minutes later, Ivan Gonzalez conceded a penalty by fouling Ehsan Pahlavan inside the box. But this time Dheeraj got a foot on Ahmad Noorollahi's penalty and saved his effort.
Persepolis FC started the second half from where they left off. Within the first twenty seconds, Torabi tried to score a goal by chipping the ball above FC Goa's custodian. However, Dheeraj was alert to palm the ball out of play. In the 48th minute, Al Kasir found the back of the net by placing the ball into an empty net but he was judged marginally offside.
The remainder of the second half remained largely eventless as both sides canceled out each other in the final third. The match ended 2-1 in favor of Persepolis FC.
With the loss, FC Goa slipped to third position in the points table as Al Wahda toppled them after a win over Al Rayyan earlier in the day. The Gaurs will face Persepolis FC again on Friday to avenge their loss.