Al Wahda crash out of Asian Champions League as Al Nassr set up semi-final with Al Hilal

Abu Dhabi side beaten 5-1 in Saudi Arabia, while Riyadh clubs will meet for place in final

Henk ten Cate described Al Wahda’s heavy defeat to Al Nassr in the Asian Champions League as “a real lesson for us” as the club’s continental hopes ended at the quarter-final stage on Saturday.

The Abu Dhabi side were beaten 5-1 at a packed King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, with Nassr now facing Saudi Arabian compatriots Al Hilal on Tuesday for a place in the final. The 2019 champions saw off Iran’s Persepolis 3-0 on Saturday night, also in Riyadh.

Against Nassr, Wahda got off to the worst possible start when they conceded on eight minutes to a fine Abderazzak Hamdallah goal, although the UAE club did create chances in the first half.

However, Nassr dominated after the break - former Shabab Al Ahli loanee Jaloliddin Masharipov scored twice

alongside a goal each for Abdulfattah Assiri and Sami Al Najei – only for Ismail Matar to pull one back not long before the final whistle.

“It was a real lesson for us,” Ten Cate said afterwards. “The difference lies in the chances: they had six chances and they scored five of them, we had five chances and we scored only one.

"I would say we were unlucky tonight, but this would do Al Nassr a disservice, which I don’t want to do. They were better than us and that’s a fact."

For Nassr, the match marked the first for new manager Pedro Emanuel, who was appointed as successor to Mano Menezes last month. The former Al Ain manager could not have wished for a better bow, and was clearly delighted by the atmosphere at the King Saud University Stadium. The match was the first club game in Saudi with 100 per cent capacity allowed as the kingdom eases Covid-19 restrictions.

“In some moments I just sat on the bench and I enjoyed the environment between the fans and the team," Emanuel said. "This is why I’m a coach, this is why I enjoy football.

"Two of the four teams here at the quarter-finals are Saudi. This shows the quality in this country, this is why I wanted to come back to Saudi Arabia and that is why I’m happy to be back. I’m very happy with the quality, not only of the foreigners, but also the local players, as we saw with the national team.

“The team showed that when they work together towards one objective, we are very strong. When we fight like this, everything is possible.”

Updated: October 17th 2021, 6:08 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS