Amman: Al Salt are capable of achieving more, said head coach Jamal Abu Abed after the Jordan side advanced to the 2021 AFC Cup West Zonal semi-finals with a 5-0 win against Palestine’s Balata Center on Thursday.
The big win secured Al Salt place in the West Zonal semi-finals in their maiden participation in the competition, with Cameroonian forward Ronald Ngah powering them past Balata Center at King Abdullah II Stadium.
The victory meant Al Salt finished second behind Muharraq Club on Bahrain on the head-to-head record with both teams on six points. Al Salt advanced as the best second-placed team from the three West groups and will face Kuwait SC in the West Zonal semi-finals. Muharraq Club will play Lebanon's Al Ahed.
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“The players performed well throughout the group stage and, in fact, improved with each passing match," said Abu Abed in the post-match press conference.
“We didn’t think of other matches and our main concentration was to win the match against Balata Center in order to qualify."
“Despite losing the first match, we overcame this in the second match and today,” he said. “I want to thank the players for all the effort they have put in the competition.
“It is a historic achievement for us as we are taking part in the competition for the first time and I hope that we can honour Jordanian football in the best possible way.
“We want always to be on top because we have special players who are capable of achieving great things for us.”
Balata Center head coach Ayman Sandouqa said lack of preparation was the main reason behind his team's exit.
“We tried to give our best in our three matches in the competition but we were affected by the lack of preparation in addition to playing three matches in a short period of time,” said Sandouqa.
“The early goal that we conceded surprised our players who lost their concentration. We knew that we would be under heavy pressure from Al Salt but didn’t expect to concede an early goal.
“We should start preparing to play in the competition once again and hopefully we can reinforce our team with players who can help us do better next time."
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