ISL: What connects FC Goa and the Moldovian club Sheriff Tiraspol who qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stages?
There is strange but rather nice similarity between Moldovian club Sheriff Tiraspol and FC Goa.
Last night Moldovian club Sheriff Tiraspol created history when they beat Dinamo Zagreb 3–0 on aggregate to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in their history. The question here is what connects Sheriff Tiraspol and the Indian Super League team FC Goa? The answer - Juan Fernando.
The current FC Goa coach Juan Fernando is the former coach of the Moldovian club that created history, he used to coach them in 2013. He joined the club first as an assistant manager but then was appointed the head coach later that year. The Spanish coach led them to the Moldovan Super Cup in 2013, which was also his first piece of silverware as a coach.
As a manager of Sheriff Tiraspol, Juan Fernando led the Moldovan Club to the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round for the first time in their history but lost out to Dinamo Zagreb and could not advance further to the Group Stage.
After the Champions League exit, the team eliminated Serbian club Vojvodina during the Europa League play-off round, and directly qualified to the Europa League Group Stage.
In the group stage, they faced English team Tottenham Hotspur, Russians Anzhi Makhachkala, and Norwegian club Tromsø. Sheriff finished third in the group stages with 6 points, two short of qualification to the knock-out rounds.
Last year, Juan Fernando led FC Goa to the playoffs in his debut season with the club, but they lost out to eventual winners Mumbai City FC on penalty shootouts. After the ISL was over, Juan Fernando led them in the AFC Champions League.
The Gaurs had a historic performance in the AFC Champions League and finished third in their group below Perspolis and Al Wahda, and above Al Rayyan. FC Goa were the first Indian club to qualify for the group stages of the AFC Champions League, and they surprised Asian football with their performances.
No one knows how the dots connect in football, a coach that helped FC Goa script history, is directly associated with a Moldovian football team that is scripting history in the UEFA Champions League.