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We will have to train with intensity: FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia

FC Goa’s AFC CL games from April 14

FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia stressed the need to be smart as the club embarks upon its maiden AFC Champions League campaign.

The Indian Super League side, which finished fourth in the recently concluded campaign, will come up against clubs with Champions League pedigree. Goa’s Group E, which begins on April 14 in Goa, is made up of last season’s finalist Persepolis FC (Iran), Qatar’s Al Rayyan and the playoff winner of Al-Wahda (UAE) and Al-Zawraa (Iraq). All four nations’ club competitions are among the top 10 in the AFC rankings, while India is placed 15th.

Goa finished the ISL league stage with the highest average possession (58%) and second-most number of passes (9665) but acknowledges it won’t enjoy a familiar superiority in the continent’s biggest stage.

“Keeping in mind their level, we will have to work hard and train with intensity in preparation for this,” said Bedia, who has La Liga experience under his belt. “It’s important to remember that we are not used to this experience. We are a team that likes to keep a lot of the ball but we might not see a lot of the ball. It might become a possession-based game then we need to be smart about it. Obviously, whenever we get chances, there will be few and far between, we need to take them.”

While Goa last played on March 8, its opponents are in the middle of their domestic competitions. Bedia welcomed the week-long break at the end of a five-month-long ISL season in a bio-secure bubble, however, head coach Juan Ferrando expressed concerns over getting the intensity levels back up. “The teams [opposition] are working week by week in intensity. It’s game, training, game for them. For us, the last month has been training, training, training,” said Ferrando, who recovered from COVID-19 last week.

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