Jovanovic applauds Al Nasr's team work, fighting spirit

Jovanovic applauds Al Nasrs team work, fighting spirit
Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic (left) and Emirati striker Salem Saleh at the post-match briefing at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Tuesday night.

Dubai - His opposite number Amir Ghalenoei miffed with the refereeing as well as what he called the home team's time wasting and faking injuries

By James Jose

Published: Wed 18 May 2016, 4:06 AM

Last updated: Wed 18 May 2016, 2:05 PM

Jovanovic applauds Al Nasr's team work, fighting spirit   
James Jose
DUBAI - Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic heaped praise on his team after they dismantled a strong Tractorsazi Tabriz, a 4-1 verdict which put them within touching distance of a first ever appearance in the quarterfinals.
But the Serbian cautioned that there was still one more leg left to negotiate before they can turn that dream into reality.
In what was a fractious Round of 16 first leg encounter in the AFC Champions League at the Al Maktoum Stadium, late on Tuesday night, the Blue Wave cooked up a storm to bulldoze the Iranian side.
"My players gave everything in the field and showed amazing fighting spirit tonight," Jovanovic said after the fixture.
"I want to say a big congratulations and bravo to my players, they gave everything and they write in golden letters a big new history for this club," he added.
The result may have reflected a walk in the park for Al Nasr but they still had to put in those hard yards to make it look easy.
"It was a very tough and strong game and the final result doesn't show how strong the game was. We had to play against a very good team and, secondly, we faced a lot of problems during the game. But we showed good team work and fighting spirit.
"From a tactical point of view, we were excellent with the positioning in the field. We knew that against a side like Tractorsazi, it wouldn't be easy to create many chances. So in this kind of game, we had to be more tactical. We won 4-1 but we still have one more leg to play and we have to play much better there to qualify for the next round," said Jovanovic.
Meanwhile, his opposite number Amir Ghalenoei was miffed with the refereeing as well as what he called Al Nasr's time wasting and faking injuries.
"Congratulations to Al Nasr on the win. The game was under our control but they scored from the four chances that they got. On the other hand, we had possession but couldn't do much from it. We could have won this game easily but couldn't. I'm confident about my team but we were unlucky tonight," said Ghalenoei.
"But nothing is finished yet. We still have one more game to go," he added.
He also had a word on the officiating by saying: "If Asian football has to improve, they have to improve the standard of refereeing. The refereeing was the most average I have seen in my career. Also I have seen that the clubs from this region, they use the pitch as a hospital and fall down for little things.  And they waste time unnecessarily."
"I trust my team and I'm sure we are going to compensate for it in Tabriz. I hope they (Al Nasr) don't use the pitch as a hospital again and waste time. I believe the Arab countries pay so much for football, if they could train more they should have improved their football more. I'm sure the Al Nasr coach would not like the type of football they play, because he comes from modern football countries," he added.

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