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Khatibi credits players and staff for Tractor's unbeaten AFC Champions League run following Sharjah win


Sharjah: Tractor FC head coach Rasoul Khatibi was full of praise for his players and technical staff as his side completed the 2021 AFC Champions League group stage unbeaten, their latest positive result a 2-0 win over Sharjah on Matchday Six on Thursday.

Mohammad Abbaszadeh’s second brace of the campaign secured Tractor the three points, consigning their opponents to their first defeat in Group B and becoming the only unbeaten side in the West zone of the 2021 AFC Champions League.

The forward struck on the half-volley in the seventh minute and added the second after finishing a quick counter attack after the hour-mark.

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“First of all I have to congratulate the very real fans of Tractor all around the world for the result. The players did a great job and played well in a very technical game,” said Khatibi.

“We gained three points. I admire the technical staff and their analysis in this. As you have seen, we have rotated our team and changed players based on our needs and played well. We collected seven points in the second half of the competition.

“We gave some of our players rest but we had six players who have played every game. So I would like to thank them. We did not lose any game in the group stage.”

2021 AFC Champions League: Sharjah 0-2 Tractor FC

Sharjah head coach Abdulaziz Al Anbari had started the same XI in each of their first five matches, but opted to make three changes against Tractor, and the 44-year-old insisted his selections were dictated by fear of losing players to suspensions in the round of 16.

“Unfortunately, this is not the result we wanted. We wanted to get a better result, but we hope this does not impact the player especially as we have matches in the league shortly after,” said Al Anbari.

“We had six players on yellow cards so we did not want to risk them and even those of them who started were a bit cautious with their challenges. After conceding the goal, we tried very well. For me Tractor goalkeeper Mohammad Reza Akhbari has been the best player in this group, he has been denying us and other opponents chances in every game.

“We play as a group now and focus on teamwork, we have a better shape now and you can see that different players are impressing in every game, which is a testament to the overall quality of the team. Players like Khalid Bawazir and Salem Saleh were not getting a lot of chances in the league, but when called upon they performed.

“We missed some chances, but Tractor are a strong team. I am happy with the work we have done throughout the campaign and I am hopeful we will take positives from here going forward.”

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