We deserved to qualify: Jovanovic

We deserved to qualify: Jovanovic
Al Nasr's Salem Saleh Al Rejaibi (right) celebrates after scoring against Iran's Tractorsazi.

By James Jose

Published: Wed 25 May 2016, 9:21 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 May 2016, 11:25 PM

Al Nasr coach Ivan Jovanovic thanked his players for a stellar showing against Iran's Tractorsazi Tabriz and added that his team thoroughly deserved to go ahead to the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League.
The Blue Wave's six-game unbeaten streak was brought to an end by the Iranian club, who won the second leg of the Round of 16 fixture 3-1 on the night. It also meant Al Nasr have never won on four of their visits to Iran after they had lost all three previous matches against Sepahan. But that mattered little as the Oud Metha club went through to the last eight 5-4 aggregate on the back of their 4-1 walloping of Tractorsazi Tabriz in the first leg at the Al Maktoum Stadium last week.
After cancelling out Salem Saleh's early opener, Tractorsazi Tabriz were up 3-1 and laid siege at the Al Nasr goal. But the Dubai club's backline as well as goalkeper Ahmed Shambih staved them off quite adroitly.
"My special thanks to my players. As I said before the match, Tractorsazi are a very powerful team. In football, if you don't deserve it you will not go through to the next round," Jovanovic said after the energy-sapping and tough encounter.
"We didn't have a single match against Tractorsazi and then we faced them in two games. Perhaps, Tractorsazi attacked more during the games but we were the more effective team," the Serbian added.
Meanwhile, Tractorsazi Tabriz coach Amir Ghalenoei was pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his team but rued the fact that they couldn't manage to get the result they wanted. "I congratulate Al Nasr on moving into the quarterfinals and I also thank the our fans for their support," said Ghalenoei.
"We should have scored five or six goals but it didn't happen. Despite our good performance, we didn't get the result we needed. This is one of my bad days. We played good football but couldn't emerge victorious," he added.
Meanwhile, a long-range strike in the 90th minute from substitute Hao Junmin gave Shandong Luneng a 2-2 draw with Sydney FC, putting the Chinese side into the Asian Champions League quarterfinals on away goals.
After a 1-1 draw last week in China, Rhyan Grant put the home side ahead 2-1 in the first minute of the second half before Hao's late goal against a 10-man Sydney side.
Zac Anderson was sent off with 14 minutes remaining for bringing down Yang Xu, but Sydney goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic saved the penalty.
Midfielder Brandon O'Neill had given Sydney a 1-0 lead in the second minute from a free kick but Argentine midfielder Walter Montillo equalized less than 10 minutes later.Seoul FC advanced 7-6 on penalties over Japanese club Urawa Reds in the South Korean capital. Regulation finished with Seoul FC leading 1-0 after Urawa's 1-0 win last week in Japan, sending it to extra time. Brazilian striker Adriano gave Seoul the lead four minutes into the extra period, but Tadanari Lee scored twice four minutes apart to give Urawa the advantage with five minutes remaining. Ko Yo-han scored for Seoul in the final minute of extra time to give the South Koreans a 3-2 second-leg win, but again leaving the sides level on aggregate.
Kim Dong-woo clinched the match for the home side in the penalty shootout. Yoshiaki Komai missed his attempt for Urawa on the previous shot. The quarterfinals, featuring two groups to be drawn from east Asia and two from the west, begin on August 23-24 with the second legs set for September 13 or 14. - james@khaleejtimes.com

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