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Al Ahli Saudi's Reghecampf disappointed, Esteghlal's Majidi blames fatigue after AFC Champions League stalemate


Jeddah: Head coach Laurentiu Reghecampf did not hide is dismay following Al Ahli Saudi FC’s 0-0 draw with Esteghlal FC in Group C of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

With Qatar’s Al Duhail SC having suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Al Shorta of Iraq in the group earlier match on Tuesday, Al Ahli Saudi and Esteghlal went into their tie at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium knowing victory would place them in pole position to win the group and seal the sole automatic ticket to the Round of 16.

Instead, the 90 minutes ended in a stalemate, with both tied on eight points with Al Duhail going into Matchday Six on Thursday.

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Reghecampf said Al Ahli Saudi deserved to win as they controlled possession but were let down by their inability to finish their chances.

“We deserved to win because we had the better chances,” said Reghecampf. “We controlled the match most of the time but unfortunately we couldn’t score.

“I always want to play attacking football but sometimes, this is not possible because of the physical and technical aspects that affect us.”

“Our team is very good and we are improving from match to match and this is something positive,” said the Romanian.

“There are three teams now level on points, which is something good for football and the competition. I believe in my players and hopefully we can advance to the next round although the match against Al Duhail will be very tough.”

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Ahli Saudi FC 0-0 Esteghlal FC

Esteghlal FC head coach Farhad Majidi said the physical status of both sets of players affected the match as fatigue affected his Islamic Republic of Iran side, who couldn’t win against the team they had defeated 5-2 in their opening match a fortnight ago.

“The two sides were tired and I appreciate all the efforts that my players put in the match,” said Majidi. “It was a strong encounter against an organised side.”

“Al Ahli didn’t change much from the match that we won but fatigue played an important role in the result tonight. We played smart and we couldn’t use our own attacking style because of the physical aspect of the team.”

“The group now is unpredictable after tonight’s matches. We must be ready for the last match (against Al Shorta) in order to achieve our target and advance from the group.”

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