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ACL2020: Al Ahli were second best against Al Shorta despite win, says Al Soma

Doha: Al Ahli Saudi FC captain Omar Al Somar was relieved his team walked away with full points against a better Al Shorta side in their 2020 AFC Champions League Group A tie on Monday.

The Jeddah giants became the first team to reach the Round of 16 as Marko Marin notched a late goal to secure a second win.

Al Soma was satisfied with the win as Al Ahli were missing several players but admitted that Iraqi side Al Shorta surprised them at Khalifa International Stadium.

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“We were hoping to have a better performance but the heavy schedule that we had recently, along with the injuries of some of our players, affected us,” said the Syrian international forward.

“The Al Shorta players were physically excellent and they had a good performance. We had watched several of their matches but their performance was totally different.”

Group A - MD3: Al Ahli Saudi FC 1-0 Al Shorta

The two sides will clash again on Matchday Four but Al Soma believes Al Ahli will be better prepared for Thursday's encounter.

“We now know the style of our opponents and this will help us to have a better performance in the next match,” said the 31-year-old forward.

“The good thing is now we will have more rest than the other teams in the Round of 16 and hopefully, we can have a far better performance than tonight.”

Al Shorta defender Suad Natiq said his side deserved a better result but luck was not on their side.

“We had a great performance despite playing with 10 men from so early in the match,” said Natiq. “We were so close to winning but we missed several chances.

“Everyone knows that there has been no football in Iraq the past six months,” he explained. “Although we only gathered in the last 20 days and had only two preparatory matches, we produced a good performance.”

Despite the defeat, the 26-year-old defender is optimistic that Al Shorta can defeat Al Ahli on Thursday.

“I hope that we can create a surprise in the next match, especially now that we know more about Al Ahli,” he said. “We must maintain our chances of advancing and this can only be done with a positive result.”

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