Jubilant Amouta praises spirited display
Ahwaz, Iran: Al Sadd coach Hussein Amouta was delighted to see his team’s bold approach pay off as the former winners advanced to the quarter-finals of the AFC Champions League on away goals after a thrilling 2-2 draw with Iranian champions Foolad Khouzestan on Wednesday.
The Qatari side had been held to a goalless draw in the first leg in Doha but they grabbed the initiative in the return match at Ghadir Stadium with goals by Nadir Belhadj and Khalfan Ibrahim giving them a 2-0 lead in the opening half-hour.
The visitors were more cautious after the interval and Foolad hit back with a pair of late goals by Chimba after Al Sadd had been reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of defender Abdelkarim Hassan.
However, the 2011 winners hung on to clinch the tie on away goals and secure a spot in the draw for the last eight on May 28.
“I had said before the match that we could qualify,” said Amotta. “It was a 50-50 chance for either teams before the kick-off but our chance rose to 100% during the match. We took advantage of the conditions in the match and qualified.
“Foolad had a good performance but we did a great job to control their players and we achieved the result we had wanted. Tactically, we performed well although we had failed to obtain the preferred result in the first leg.
“We started to play offensively from the beginning of the match, and it was after our second goal when Foolad lost the tie,” added the Moroccan.
“It was natural for our team to get back into our own half especially when Esmaeel Sharifat came on at the start of the second half. The substitutions by Foolad was the reason why we decided to play with more caution but finally we got what we had come for.”