Marmar dedicates Al Ahed title triumph to Lebanon
Kuala Lumpur: Head coach Bassem Marmar said Al Ahed FC's 2019 AFC Cup final triumph on Monday was for the people of Lebanon.
Marmar said he hoped Al Ahed's win - the first time a Lebanese club has won the AFC Cup - had put a smile on the faces of his compatriots.
"This win is for them and I really hope that we have brought happiness by winning the AFC Cup. We wanted so badly to win the Cup for the people of Lebanon and I am so happy that the players delivered," said Marmar.
See also :
Despite the 1-0 score suggesting otherwise, Al Ahed fully deserved the victory over DPR Korea's 4.25 SC at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium as they were the dominant side and should have scored long before Issah Yakubu headed home what would prove to be the winning goal in the 74th minute.
Having started the better of the two sides, Al Ahed's task became easier when 4.25 goalkeeper An Tae-song was sent off in the 26th minute for bringing down a goal-bound Ahmad Zreik.
However, numerous chances were missed and Marmar had a reason for his team spurning the opportunities that came their way.
"Normally, I have to motivate my players but for today, I had to calm them down. I could see the desire in their eyes to win the title. They were determined to fight and this, to a certain extent, affected our play.
"It became easier after 4.25 were reduced to 10 players but we kept missing chances and at half time, I told my players to calm down and focus on their game."
Yakubu's goal finally sealed the title Al Ahed so desperately wanted and Marmar paid tribute to his players.
"We are proud of what the players have achieved. They are champions and they deserve to be champions."
Marmar said Al Ahed, who lifted the AFC Cup on the back of an undefeated run, would now turn their focus to the domestic season but promised that they would work hard to defend their Continental title.
"Winning is always easier than defending but we will be back. We believe in the players and they have improved after winning the AFC Cup.
"We will be back next year with more confidence in ourselves and we want to defend the title."
Recommended Stories :