FC Goa did well on Wednesday night when they came away with a point against Al-Rayyan SC, the first-ever for an Indian club in the AFC Champions League, in their first group stage game. However, with Al Wahda FC and Persepolis FC both looming in the horizon, Juan Ferrando's side have to show a little more attacking intent if they are to bag all three in a match. In this column, we will discuss the Gaurs' next opponents, Al Wahda, and fill you in with everything that you need to know about them. Here goes --
When and where was the club founded?
Al Wahda FC was formed in 1984 in Abu Dhabi when Abu Dhabi SC and Al-Emirates SC merged to form one club.
Nickname, club colours and stadium?
They are also known as Fursan Mecca (Knights of Mecca) and Al Mared Al Ahmar (The Red Giant). They play their home games at the Al-Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The club's colours are maroon, grey and white.
Which league do they play in?
Al Wahda plays in the UAE Pro League, also known as the Arabian Gulf League, which has 14 teams playing in it.
What is that one interesting statistic about their recent form?
The team was unbeaten in 7 AFC Champions League games before their 1-0 loss against Persepolis FC on Wednesday night.
What are the major honours that they have won?
Al Wahda have four Pro League titles to their name, the last of which came in 2009-10. They have also won the President's Cup, the country's cup competition, twice, apart from 3 Federation Cups and 2 UAE League Cups.
Who is their head coach?
Their head coach is Henk ten Cate. The Dutchman has previously worked at Chelsea, Ajax and Barcelona in different capacities. This is his second spell at the club.
Who are Al Wahda's key players?
Attacker Khalil Ibrahim Al-Hammadi is the Abu Dhabi-based side's captain and arguably their best player. The 27-year-old will be a handful for Ivan Gonzalez and co. with his movement and ball control, like he was against India in the international friendly last month. Another big threat is centre-forward Tim Matavz whose hold-up play will be crucial for Al Wahda's fortunes upfront.
How have Al Wahda fared in the AFC Champions League?
They have made 12 previous appearances in the AFC Champions League. The last time was in 2019 when they went out in the Round of 16. They reached the semi-finals in 2007, which remains their longest foray in the continental competition.
How have they fared in their domestic league recently?
Currently, they sit 8th in the UAE Pro League points table with 35 points from 23 games. Three rounds of matches still remain in the season.
What approach should FC Goa adopt in view of the Arab club's recent form?
After a draw in their first game, it is imperative that FC Goa attack a little more against Al Wahda. They lost last night against Persepolis and their recent domestic league form doesn't inspire much confidence either. This is probably the Gaurs' best chance to grab full points.