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Semi-finals 1st Leg: What They Said

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Kuala Lumpur: The first legs of the semi-finals of the 2019 AFC Champions League concluded this week with plenty of thrills and spills to savour.

Game-changers, sensational strikes and the 12th man as the 2019 semi-finals got under way in exciting style with rollercoaster matches in Qatar and Japan. Here's the post-match reaction from some of the key men involved.

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“I still think we have a chance to get to the final. We have to prepare and we know it is going to be hard, but we will do our best. We still have the quality to do that so let’s wait for the match in Guangzhou.”

Coach Fabio Cannavaro still believes that Guangzhou Evergrande can come back from the 2-0 deficit that they will now take into their semi-final second leg against Urawa Red Diamonds on October 23.

"It was a nice, but a difficult win away against a good team in Al Sadd. We won the first leg, but we have to finish the job. Thank you to our faithful supporters; we're ready for the return match.

"Sorry, to [Abdullah] Al Mayoof. Hat-trick?"

Two-goal hero Bafetimbi Gomis lauds the first leg performance of Al Hilal in their 4-1 victory over Al Sadd. But still finds time to apologise to his 'keeper after scoring an own-goal.

Sorry 🙇🏿‍♂️🙇🏿‍♂️🙇🏿‍♂️@almayuof ⚽️⚽️⚽️ hat trick 🤦🏿‍♂️🤦🏿‍♂️😂😂😂 #thelioniscoming

— Bafétimbi Gomis (@BafGomis) October 1, 2019

"Although we are not playing well these days - with the exception of the AFC Champions League games - the supporters continue to cheer us on and always have our backs. Without them, I really don't think we could have got the victory today. I really appreciate them so much."

Urawa winger Takahiro Sekine hailed the club's loyal supporters after a passionate home crowd helped the J.League side to the win over Guangzhou.

1st Leg: Takahiro Sekine reacts to Urawa win

“We were the better team until Abdelkarim Hassan was sent off. In my opinion, there were two matches; one before the red card and one after it. It was really difficult for us to defend and attack with 10 players, so we fell to this result."

Al Sadd coach Xavi admitted the dismissal of defender Abdelkarim Hassan changed the game as they saw their 1-0 lead slip to a 4-1 defeat to Al Hilal.

“I’ve been discussing many things with our coaching staff and with the players but I think maybe it’s because the AFC Champions League gives us an unknown motivation. It’s a big stage and a big tournament and the players get a big boost when we play in it. 

Urawa coach Tsuyoshi Otsuki admitted his side are able to raise their game for the AFC Champions League despite poor domestic form.

“I’ve been training so hard to score exactly that kind of goal. So, when I finally achieved it for the first time in a long while, I was very emotional and almost began crying.”

Brazilian midfielder Fabricio reflects on his stunning opener for Urawa against Guangzhou.

😭 “I almost began crying!”

🇧🇷 Brazilian forward Fabricio reflects on his stunning strike for @REDSOFFICIAL against Guangzhou Evergrande 👌#URAvGUA | Semi-Final | #ACL2019

— AFC Champions League (@TheAFCCL) October 3, 2019

“All of the team, not only me, have to improve in every aspect of our game. Football is like this though; we cannot keep our heads down. We must keep our heads up and look forward to a better result.

Guangzhou's Talisca admits big changes are needed for the two-time AFC Champions League winners if they want to turn around the 2-0 deficit.

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