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Luck favoured Al Wahda in AFC Champions League victory against Persepolis, says ten Cate


Goa: Head coach Henk ten Cate claimed luck was on Al Wahda FSCC's side in their crucial 1-0 win over Persepolis FC in Group E of the 2021 AFC Champions League on Monday.

Tim Matavz put Al Wahda ahead five minutes into the tie at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as ten Cate’s charges registered their third consecutive victory.

The win took Al Wahda to 10 points, two behind group leaders Persepolis of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the UAE club to end their group stage campaign against hosts FC Goa on Thursday.

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“It was a difficult match to start with because we were missing four players through suspension,” said ten Cate. “This was difficult but the team did extremely well and the players followed the tactical plan and it worked fantastically.

“I just want to congratulate my players for an impressive performance. I think they did well and I’m very proud."

Victory over FC Goa on Thursday could take Al Wahda into the Round of 16 either as group winners – if Persepolis lose to Qatar’s Al Rayyan SC – or as one of the three best runners-up.

“I must see who is available because we have some players who can’t play and I will have to assess our opponents. They will also have players that are not available.

“We are very happy, of course, with the results so far. We came here into a very difficult group but we did well. And of course you need luck, we had some luck. We also had some bad luck but this is football and luck was on our side today and I’m happy."

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Wahda FSCC 1-0 Persepolis FC

Ten Cate’s opposite number Yahya Golmohammadi was left to rue his side's missed chances but vowed Persepolis would bounce back against Al Rayyan on Thursday.

“We started badly in the first half compared to our opponents who started well,” said Golmohammadi. “Al Wahda were good in closing down the spaces in the opening half."

“I believe we improved in the second half and played a better game. The match was one sided but we did not convert the chances we had and lost the three points. If we had taken our chances, we could have at least earned a draw.

“I would like to congratulate Al Wahda for their performance today. They were well organised and were defensively good. They were strong in the first half but that intensity diminished in the second half.

“I’m not a firm believer in bad luck or hard luck, we just didn’t have better concentration. Our only aim is to qualify top of the group and we will beat Al Rayyan.”

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