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AFC Cup: What They Said

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Kuala Lumpur: It was another busy week of AFC Cup action that has seen a further 13 teams depart to leave seven sides to battle it out for continental glory. On the back of the fixtures, here's what some of those involved had to say. 

Home United

We knew a first-half lead would really help us because we didn't go there just to defend, we went there to put up a fight. It was quite intimidating at the start, but once we settled in we proved that even as a young team we could cope well and hold them back.

Home United coach Aidil Sharin admits that the huge crowd at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium made the task of overcoming Persija Jakarta even more difficult after his side claimed an excellent 3-1 victory to progress to a second successive AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final.

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I am delighted to have reached the [Zonal] final. Al Faisaly are a big team, but we knew they tend to struggle physically in the second half and we took advantage of that to score the goal.

Al Jazeera head coach Chiheb Ellili reveals his side were aware of Al Faisaly’s weakness after Musa Al Taamari’s second-half goal on Monday saw Al Jazeera advance to the AFC Cup West Zonal final 2-1 on aggregate.

I apologise to Al Faisaly fans on behalf of all the players. We worked hard and tried to get a result, but it wasn't meant to be. No one enjoys losing, especially not the fans.

A dejected Anas Bani Yaseen has a message for the Al Faisaly fans (above), who turned out in their droves, only to see Al Jazeera win the all-Jordanian clash.

It’s a very good feeling because we know now that we’re in the next round. I think it’s a reward for the team because we never gave up. We started very strong and kept fighting, we scored an early goal and this was the target.

Daniel Segovia on the feel-good factor of JSW Bengaluru’s 4-0 win over Abahani Limited Dhaka after the Spaniard opened the scoring and the Indian side booked their ticket to the Inter-Zone semi-finals.

I think we are making a great piece of history in Macau. We should be very proud because for our first time in the AFC Cup we have won four out of six games. This is very good and a sign of hope for the Macanese and all the young people that want to play football, and it can be a good beginning for football in Macau. Year by year, I hope we have more supporters. I have a dream to see this stadium full one day and I’m happy to be part of this new history.

Benfica Macau’s hat-trick hero Carlos Leonel believes his team are creating something special after they round off their debut campaign with a 3-0 win over DPR Korea’s Hwaepul SC.

We had a 3-1 lead from the first leg, so we wanted to score early in the game, which we did, and that helped us reach our goal of qualifying. We went through a rough patch with fixture congestion in domestic competition in addition to the AFC Cup, but we emerged from it successfully and I am pleased with that.

Air Force Club coach Radhi Swadi is happy after the defending champions followed his game plan and moved ever closer towards a third successive AFC Cup final after a 2-2 draw with Al Ahed on Tuesday ensured a 5-3 aggregate win.

We’re playing in the ASEAN final again and it’s not something everyone should expect. We worked hard for it and we truly deserved it. We have faced Home United already in the group stage and in games like that, everything is possible. We just have to make sure that we get the better outcome. Everyone is excited to face Home United again and create new history for Filipino football and Ceres Negros FC.

Kevin Ingreso is looking forward to the challenge of playing Home United once more after their 6-5 aggregate win over Yangon United set up a rematch of last year’s ASEAN Zonal final against Home United, who the Filipino team also played in the group stage.

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