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Lamouchi laments ‘worst’ Al Duhail performance, Ilic hails Al Shorta for huge AFC Champions League performance

Jeddah: Sabri Lamouchi admitted that Al Duhail were at their worst in the 2-1 defeat to Al Shorta in Group C of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.

The Al Duhail head coach could only watch bemusedly as the already eliminated Al Shorta claimed their first points of the campaign thanks to goals from Amjed Attwan and Mohammed Dawood.

While the Iraqi side had every reason to celebrate their victory, the result was a body blow to Al Duhail’s Round of 16 chances, with the Qataris tied on eight points with Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC and Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli Saudi FC going into Matchday Six.

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Lamouchi admitted that Al Shorta’s performance was way better than his team’s at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.

“It was our worst performance in the five matches that we’ve played,” said Lamouchi. “The players were tired and our opponents were better than us.

“I’m disappointed because of the result and the performance which was catastrophic. We were without several players but all the teams have the same physical condition due to the heavy match schedule."

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Shorta 2-1 Al Duhail SC

“When you play at this level, a lot of problems can happen and this is not an excuse for us. Al Shorta surprised us with the early goal and this affected our plans in the match.

“The result forced a new reality of competition in this group,” said the French coach. “If we play the same way we played today in our last match then we will definitely not qualify.”

Al Duhail face Al Ahli Saudi on Friday while Esteghlal play Al Shorta, with the group wide open and a win not necessarily enough to finish top with the head-to-head between the three teams also in play.

Al Shorta head coach Aleksandar Ilic hailed the defensive performance and tactical discipline of his players.

“For us, we played in the most difficult group in the competition,” said Ilic. “We didn’t have good results in the first four matches because playing in the AFC Champions League is different than playing in the local league.

“All the teams in the group play in a different way and that is why we need more competitive matches at this level in order to improve.

“We managed to show tactical discipline and created space between the lines,” said the Serbian. “We stopped the danger of the Al Duhail players and we took advantage of our chances to score goals and win the match.”

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