Muharraq played to a plan against Dempo, says coach

April 2nd, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by admin  

Margao, April 2 (IANS) Al Muharraq coach Salman Sharida was pleased as a punch after his side demolished Dempo 4-0 in a crucial group A encounter of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup encounter at Nehru Stadium here Wednesday. “The players executed the plan to perfection. I could not have asked for more,” the Bahrain League champions’ coach told reporters during the post-match briefing.

Sharida had spent hours viewing, and studying, video footage of Dempo’s AFC Cup matches, both in India and Oman. And he put all his experience to good use Wednesday.

“We knew Dempo’s weakest link was defence. All that we did today was exploit that weakness,” disclosed the former Bahrain International.

The Muharraq coach has a point as Dempo’s defence has struggled to keep pace with quality opposition without the injured Mahesh Gawli, winner of India’s best defender award for four years in a row.

“The scoreline may suggest otherwise, but it was not an easy game,” the coach said. “Dempo has quality players in their ranks but I am delighted my players came good when it mattered the most.”

The win meant Al Muharraq — seven points from three games and the only unbeaten team in Group A — are almost certain to make the quarter-final stage.

“Today’s win will help calm nerves. After the draw in Lebanon (against Al Ansar) it was important for us to get back to winning ways.”

Dempo Sports Club coach Mauricio Afonso admitted his team was outplayed by “far better opponents”.

“I cannot deny the fact that Al Muharraq are far better opponents. I think they are the strongest side not just in our group but also the competition.”

“We could have done far better today, but the early goal upset all our plans. The players didn’t seem to know what to do once Muharraq got an early goal.”

“We now know what to expect from Muharraq and will be much better prepared when we play them next,” he said.

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