Marmar’s half-time words inspired Al Ahed, says match-winner Yakubu
Kuala Lumpur: Issah Yakubu’s 74th minute goal steered Al Ahed to a historic AFC Cup title on Monday, an achievement the player attributed to head coach Bassem Marmar’s half-time pep talk.
The Beirut-based club gained an early advantage when 4.25 SC goalkeeper An Tae-song was given his marching orders for bringing down goal-bound Ahmad Zreik in the 26th minute, but despite that, Al Ahed struggled to find the net.
Yakubu revealed that Marmar’s words of encouragement during the break propelled Al Ahed past a defensive 4.25, and they saw the fruits of their labour in the 74th minute when the Ghanaian headed home Hussein Dakik’s cross.
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“It was an exciting and fantastic game,” Yakubu told the-AFC.com. “We were prepared but because it was the final, both sides played to win.
“When we went back (into the dressing room), the coach told us that because they had a red card, they would be less offensive and more defensive, and that we should put more energy so that we could break through (their defence).
"We did what he told us to do and we scored a goal from there.”
Al Ahed’s triumph at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium wasn’t just a momentous occasion for the club but for the country too, as they became the first Lebanese club to lift the Continental club title and Yakubu's goal will always be remembered.
The midfielder, however, dedicated the achievement to his teammates.
“Frankly, it’s a good achievement but it wasn’t just mine, it’s the whole team’s and the country of Lebanon too. So, we’re really, really glad.”
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