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Al Wahda’s ten Cate over the moon after AFC Champions League stunner against Al Rayyan


Goa: Head coach Henk ten Cate praised Al Wahda FSCC's resilience after the UAE side came from two goals down to defeat Qatar's Al Rayyan SC 3-2 in Group E of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

Fares Juma's stoppage time winner secured Al Wahda their first win of the campaign, taking them to second in the group on four points, five behind leaders Persepolis who defeated FC Goa 2-1 in the other match on Tuesday.

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Dutchman ten Cate was delighted that Al Wahda managed to overcome their slow start which saw them 2-0 down before staging a thrilling fightback with three goals in 24 minutes.

“I’m a proud man!,” said ten Cate. “Especially to see where we are coming from. We had to play with a man down in the last 15 minutes and needed some luck. You need to have luck to win games and we had some today."

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Wahda FC 3-2 Al Rayyan SC

“I brought in a few players late in the second half and one of them was a 16-year-old (Awadh Mohamed). Then suddenly something changed within the team. Those players changed the way the game was played. They brought some renewed energy to the team and scored one goal.

“I’m extremely proud of my team, I know how much this win means to them. We have injured players, with little rest to restore our strength and I'm really happy with their team effort. Everybody in the UAE should be proud.”

Al Rayyan were the better side for most of the first half but their influence in the match diminished with every passing minute of the second period and another collapse ensued, having suffered the same fate against Persepolis.

Another three goals were conceded after having taken the lead and Al Rayyan are now anchored at the bottom of Group E with Blanc admitting that the defeat to Al Wahda has made things more difficult for the club's progress into the Round of 16.

“It was a disaster,” said Blanc. "Honestly, I felt we played well. It was incredible the way we played. But we made some mistakes and conceded goals.

“I think both teams wanted to play good football and as you can see it was not a boring match. At the end of the day, to lose the match at this stage of the competition makes thing complicated for us.

“If anyone saw us up by two goals, it should be 3-0 and then game over. But instead we conceded and lost the match. That is football."

Al Rayyan will have a chance to make amends when the two teams square off again on Friday.

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