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.”
Riyadh: Bunyodkor coach Aleksandr Volkov was magnanimous in his praise of Al Hilal after the Saudi club knocked the Uzbek champions out of the AFC Champions League on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over his team in the Round of 16.
Ahvaz: Psychology is crucial for Al Sadd head coach Hussain Amotta as he prepares his side for Wednesday night’s second leg against Iranian champions Foolad Khouzestan in the AFC Champions League round of 16.
Al Ain: AFC Champions League 2014 quarter-finalists Al Ain have recalled Frenchman Jires Kembo Ekoko from his successful loan spell at Qatar’s El Jaish with his arrival completing the four-man foreign player quota for Zlatko Dalic’s side.