Kdouh: Win keeps qualification hopes alive
Beirut: Hat-trick hero Mohamad Kdouh has admitted that Al Ahed’s 4-2 victory over Oman’s Al Suwaiq in Group C on Monday means the Lebanese side still maintain realistic hope of reaching the AFC Cup knockout rounds.
Al Ahed had drawn their opening two games 0-0 but got off to the perfect start in rainy conditions at Sports City Stadium when Nour Mansour put them in front in the first minute.
Kdouh then doubled their advantage just after the 15-minute mark before his second-half brace ultimately ensured a 4-2 win as Al Ahed moved into second place in the standings, two points behind Bahrain’s Malkiya Club.
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“The most important thing about my goals was that they helped the team win; we all work as one unit and it doesn’t matter who scores the goals,” said the striker.
“It is a crucial three points because, if we hadn’t won, our chances of qualification would practically have been over.
“We did what we had to, now we need to repeat this result in Oman and try to advance to the next round.”
Having reached the West Asia Zonal semi-finals last year, Al Ahed started the current campaign with high hopes but scoreless draws against Kuwait’s Qadsia SC and Malkiya Club left them with plenty to be done ahead of their third game.
Kdouh had started the previous two matches on the bench but, with goals proving a problem, was given his chance up front on Monday and grabbed it with both hands.
Al Ahed will travel to Oman for the reverse fixture in two weeks’ time and another victory would put them in a strong position to advance with two group games remaining.
"We have been playing very well in the AFC Cup this season, but we have not been lucky in front of goal,” added captain Haytham Faour.
“Today it was different; we scored from nearly half of the chances that came our way, but at some points during the match we relaxed a bit and as a result conceded two goals.
“This should not happen in future matches, because permutations can be really complicated and a single goal can be the difference between advancing to the next stage or going home early.”
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