Doha: Bunyodkor coach Alexander Volkov lauded his players on Wednesday after they pulled of a last-ditch 2-1 win over Qatari side El Jaish at the Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium to qualify for the last 16 of the AFC Champions League.
Sardor Rashidov scored with virtually the last kick of the game as the Uzbek champions secured their place in the knockout stage of the AFC Champions League for the seventh year in a row.
“The win is really important and our players showed great fighting spirit as they held on to their chances until the last minutes of the match which helped us to score a great winning goal in the last seconds,” said Volkov.
“Before the match, I told the players that we must hold on to our chances until the end. We put some pressure on our opponents at different periods of the match and we took advantage of the defensive mistakes of our opponents.”
El Jaish only needed a draw to progress to the last 16 and they seemed to have achieved their target after Mohammad Muntari struck early in the second half to cancel out Sergii Symonenko’s early goal.
But Rashidov’s late volley ensured that they will not be taking any further part in this season’s competition.
“I’m really disappointed with this defeat as it came in the last seconds of the match and that cost us the ticket to the knockout stage of the competition,” said El Jaish coach Nabil Maaloul.
“The players were tired and they lost concentration in the last minutes of the match which led to this result.”
“We were seconds away from qualifying from the group but this is football where mistakes are part of the game. We played decisive and important matches recently and this affected us as the players were completely tired.”
Guangzhou: Guangzhou Evergrande assistant coach Massimiliano Maddaloni was disappointed at the club's quarter-final exit from the AFC Champions League on Wednesday but he had no regrets about the tactics and line-up employed by the defending champions, who were eliminated on away goals by Australia's Western Sydney Wanderers.
Guangzhou: Coach Tony Popovic insists Western Sydney Wanderers will not "get cold feet" in Wednesday's AFC Champions League quarter-final second leg with defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande as the A-League side seek to defend a slender one-goal advantage at Tianhe Sport Centre.
Former champions Al Sadd will seek to return to the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League for only the second time in 12 years as the 2011 champions look to overcome a 1-0 deficit against Saudi giants Al Hilal in Tuesday’s quarter-final second leg.