DOHA // Ivan Jovanovic says his Al Nasr side must forget about Wednesday’s hugely impressive quarter-final, first-leg victory against El Jaish if they are to seal a place in the last four of the Asian Champions League.
The Dubai club defeated their Qatari opponents 3-0 at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, with debutant Wanderley scoring once in each half and Jonathan Pitroipa netting the other. Never before past the competition's group stages, Nasr now stand on the verge of a semi-final spot.
More on Al Nasr:
• Report: Knockout novices Al Nasr put one foot firmly in semi-finals after smashing El Jaish
• Comment: Wanderley represents significant upgrade on Al Nasr's Asian Champions League aspirations
Understandably, Jovanovic praised his players for their performance, although he warned against complacency when the two teams meet again at Al Maktoum Stadium on September 14.
“We will face the second game in our home in the same way as this and we hope during this 15 days we will prepare for an even better performance,” he said.
“Our thinking was to win the game, but we didn’t expect to win it 3-0. It was a very good result.
“As I said, El Jaish are a very good team and so we need to forget this result when we play in Dubai.
“The semi-final is a great target, so we can keep thinking we can make it there. It’s a very big target.”
Nasr were by far the dominant side, with Wanderley, a summer signing from Sharjah, opening the scoring moments before half time. Pitroipa doubled the visitors’ advantage nine minutes after the break before Wanderley notched his second five minutes from time.
“El Jaish also had some chances during the game, but the difference was the time in which we scored,” said Jovanovic, who commended his side for playing so well in their first match of the season.
“The problem with playing in the quarter-final is the timing: you have to face many elements as you do not know everything about your team.
“It’s very difficult for both teams to understand where they are with their performance as there are no official games before this. On the other hand, reaching the semi-final is a huge target. All of us will have to suffer to be there.”
Asked about Wanderley’s performance, Jovanovic replied: “I do not want to comment on an individual player. I believe all my players were very good. They gave their best performance.”
Meanwhile, Sabri Lamouchi, the El Jaish, manager, was at a loss to explain the defeat, saying: “I do not know what happened. We are really disappointed.
“Of course, it is a very bad result at home. Nasr scored all their opportunities. We had maybe more, but this is football. Nothing is impossible in football, but honestly it will not be easy.”
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