AFC Cup Zonal Semi-finals: What They Said
Kuala Lumpur: It was another week full of drama in the AFC Cup as the continental competition kicked off its knockout rounds in the ASEAN and West Zones. Straight off the back of those games, here’s what some of the players and coaches had to say.
Persija Jakarta are a good team and I think in this tournament they are the favourites, but as a team we played together and followed the coach’s plan. When I came on as a sub, the coach told me to try and shoot, so I did and unexpectedly it went in the back of the net. We are looking forward to the next game against them at their home.
Hafiz Nor (above, left) came off the bench to score the decisive goal in the 3-2 victory over Persija Jakarta, and the Home United midfielder reveals he had words of advice from coach Aidil Sharin.
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Al Ahed are a very good team and did not get this far by chance. They had a lot of time on the ball but we managed to capitalise on their mistakes and score three goals. I really did not want to concede a goal at home, because it complicates the second leg, but I am still happy with the result against such a strong side.
Air Force Club coach Radhi Shenaishel is pleased with his side's clinical finishing as they earned a 3-1 first leg win against Al Ahed, despite being second-best in terms of possession.
The problem was not in the second half, the problem was conceding a goal after one minute. After that they made it 2-0 but we made it 2-1 and corrected things in the locker room and levelled the game at 2-2. Then we lost the concentration and they made it 3-2. But it’s not a problem because next we’re going to play at home. We’re going to work very hard and I think we can do it. We just need to concentrate better from the beginning, but we are at home.
Concentration is the key for Persija Jakarta coach Stefano Cugurra, but the Brazilian believes home advantage will see his side past Singapore’s Home United.
We started well and scored, but were negatively affected after the red card to Mardik Mardikian. The boys did well to regroup and keep the scorer at 1-1 despite our one-man disadvantage. There is still another 90 minutes to be played and we will be up for the challenge to advance to the next round.
Goalkeeper Ahmed Nawwas is pleased with his Al Jazeera side's group effort and the 1-1 draw against fellow Jordanian side Al Faisaly after Al Jazeera had to play with ten men for more than an hour.
I think we played really, really well. They had two or three chances and scored two goals so they had a lot of luck, but I think 4-2 is really good for us as we can score at any moment over there. We have to continue like this and keep the ball because we will get chances. We have to play like we did today, we have to try to score and if we do that it’s finished.
Ceres Negros forward Bienvenido Maranon, the tournament's joint top scorer, is happy with the 4-2 win over Yangon United and is in confident mode ahead of Wednesday’s second leg.
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