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FC Goa AFC Champions League Rival Watch: Al-Wahda

Indian Super League club FC Goa, who will be participating in the AFC Champions League in about a week, now knows all three of their opponents.

FC Goa was drawn in Group E along with Qatari team Al-Rayyan and Iran's Persepolis FC. But the fourth team of the group was undecided, but now finally we all know that UAE's Al-Wahda will join the group after they defeated Al-Zawraa in the play-off round.

FC Goa AFC Champions League Rival Watch: Al-Wahda

Today we take a look at who this Al-Wahda is and what kind of threat they will bring to FC Goa. Also check out our article on FC Goa's AFC Champions League rival Al-Rayyan SC.

Al-Wahda is based in Abu Dhabi and competes in the UAE Pro League, the country's top-tier league. The club was founded in 1984 through a merger between Al-Emirates SC and Abu Dhabi SC.

The club has won UAE Pro League a total of four times, the first one in the 1998-1999 season while the last time they won the league was back in the 2009-2010 season.

They have a very experienced coach in the Dutchman Henk ten Cate who has previously been part of FC Barcelona and Chelsea as assistant manager while managed teams like AFC Ajax and Panathinaikos. He first arrived in Asian football in 2010 when he joined Al-Ahli of UAE. However, it was short-lived as he stepped down from the position one month later after the club suffered a huge 5-0 defeat to Al-Sadd.

He has also managed Umm Salal SC of Qatar, Shandong Taishan of China afterwards in Asia before he left to join Sparta Rotterdam. He returned to Asia in 2016 as he joined Al-Jazira.

It is his second stint with Al-Wahda as he has previously managed from 2018 till 2019 before he went on to join Al-Ittihad. He returned to join Al-Wahda in March 2021.

Now let's take a look at some of the key players of Al-Wahda who will play a crucial role for the club during the AFC Champions League.

Tim Matavz

The club's centre-forward is the club's most valuable player with a market value of 2 million euro. He is a Slovenia international having appeared for the national team 39 times and has 11 goals to show.

He has scored 9 goals and has 2 assists to his name in 16 matches for the club in the current season of UAE Pro League. He started his career at NK Bilje youth team in Slovenia and has featured for Dutch teams FC Groningen and PSV among the most famous ones. He has also played for German team FC Augsburg and Italian team Genoa on loan from Augsburg.

He joined Al-Wahda from Vitesse in July 2020. All in all, it will be a tough task for FC Goa's center-backs Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie.

Omar Khribin

The next best player at the club is the former Syria International centre-forward Omar Khribin. He has scored 6 goals and has 2 assists in 8 appearances since he joined the club during the January transfer window from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal, where he scored 1 goal in 9 appearances.

He started his career at Al-Wahda itself in 2011 and has played only in Asia so far in his career, the most notable club he has played for is Al-Hilal. With two quality strikers upfront, the defence line of FC Goa will be tested to their best.

Ismaeil Matar

And the next name on this list is the club captain Ismaeil Matar who plays as a left-winger for the club. Even though his age is 38, he is playing like a 30-year-old. The captain has 20 appearances this season in which he has scored 7 goals and 8 assists.

The player has been loyal towards the club as he has played the entirety of his career for Al-Wahda. He has only once moved out of the club on a month-long loan deal to join Qatar's Al-Sadd SC in 2009. He has 133 appearances for the United Arab Emirates national team in which he has scored 36 and has also led the national team.

Al-Wahda will start their AFC Champions League campaign on 14th April against Persepolis FC. While FC Goa is scheduled to face them on 17th April and on 29th April.

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