FC Goa’s jubilant players have dedicated their qualification to the AFC Champions League to the supporters of the club.
The Gaurs sealed a historic place in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday with an emphatic 5-0 rout of Jamshedpur FC.
In doing so, they became the first ever Indian team to qualify for the group stage of the AFC Champions League.
The Men in Orange have been on a roll, delivering five wins on the trot.
The defending Super Cup champions seemed to have kicked into top gear this season, finishing the league stage with a club-record 39 points, thanks to 12 wins from their 18 games.
Leading the charge from the front was Ferran Corominas. The talismanic Spaniard has again set the league on fire, thanks to his 14 goals from 15 games. And it was his early strike in the game against Jamshedpur FC that helped settle down any jangling nerves.
Speaking on the achievement, Coro said, "This one is for our supporters. From the moment I set foot on Indian soil I have felt nothing but loved. We came so close the last two seasons, and to finally be able to give this piece of joy back to our fans, I feel overjoyed."
‘Balance', for the Gaurs was a critical part of their success. The philosophy that gets started with a steady diet of passes at the back makes defenders a crucial part of the process.
In Mourtada Fall, they have found not only the cornerstone of their defence, but an aerial threat unlike any in the ISL.
"It was something we have been dreaming of ever since that spot was announced at the beginning of the season. Goans love football and they love us. They place a lot of trust on us.
And now I hope they will be able to enjoy some continental football. They have always had our back. I just want to say a big thank you," stated Mourtada Fall, FC Goa's highest-ever scoring defender.
For Mandar Rao Dessai, the taste of success may be even greater. A native Goan and current skipper of the side, the left-winger turned left-back has been with the side from the very first season.
"To be able to give this to the football-loving people of Goa, I feel immensely happy. We have been through a lot of ups and downs through our six years, and now to finally reach the top and become the first Indian side to reach the group stage of the AFC Champions League.
"It still hasn't really sunk in. This is for the fans. I can't wait to go back and look at their smiling faces," remarked the skipper.