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Reghecampf hails Al Ahli Saudi for overcoming Al Shorta in 'difficult' AFC Champions League clash


Jeddah: Head coach Laurentiu Reghecampf praised his Al Ahli Saudi FC side for a 'difficult 2-1' win against Al Shorta on Saturday to keep the Saudi Arabia club in contention in Group C of the 2021 AFC Champions League.

Al Shorta looked set to claim their first point of the campaign when Fahad Youssef cancelled out Omar Al Soma's early opener but Abdulrahman Ghareeb made sure of victory for Al Ahli Saudi, notching the winner 11 minutes from time.

The result sees the Saudi Pro League side climb to seven points with a game against Islamic Republic of Iran's Esteghlal FC up next, while Al Shorta, whose elimination has been confirmed, take on Qatar’s Al Duhail SC.

Al Duhail lead on eight points, with Esteghlal ahead of Al Ahli Saudi on goal difference. Only the group winners are assured of advancing to the Round of 16.

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Romanian Reghecampf said it was a valuable win achieved against a side who were fighting for their survival.

“We achieved three points in a difficult period as it’s not easy to play a match every three days,” said Reghecampf. “Al Shorta kept fighting in order to win or get a point from the match and it was a really difficult encounter for us.

“We now need to prepare the players for the remaining matches. We hope they will be ready as we have a chance."

“Our aim is to finish the group on top and we have now got what we wanted from the two matches against Al Shorta,” said Reghecampf.

“I hope that we can defeat Esteghlal and Al Duhail in order to achieve our target. However, this is not easy because every match has its own challenges.”

2021 AFC Champions League: Al Ahli Saudi FC 2-1 Al Shorta

Al Shorta head coach Aleksandar Ilic felt his side deserved at least a share of the points based on their performance.

“We found some difficulty in playing against Al Ahli today,” said Ilic. “We tried to match them but we made some mistakes while we also missed several scoring opportunities.”

“Honestly we don’t deserve this result. We lost concentration on several occasions and Al Ahli took advantage of the defensive mistakes that we made.

“We may have lost today but we are improving with each match. The players felt that their performance improved and they have gained a lot of experience from the competition.”

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