New Delhi, 20 April 2021 - Despite their 3-1 loss against Iranian heaveyweights Persepolis in their second AFC Champions League Group E match on Saturday, Al Rayyan head coach Laurent Blanc tried to look at the positives.
The result left the Qatari football giants Al Rayyan with one point after two matches, having drawn 0-0 with hosts FC Goa in their opener.
“We were good in the first half but after that we lost the game in six minutes,” Blanc said after the match. Last year's runners-up Persepolis came from a goal down on Saturday to continue their perfect start to the 2021 campaign. Shahriar Moghanlou scored twice after Kamal Kamyabinia had cancelled out Naif Al Hadhrami's opener as they picked up their second win in a row.
“Although we scored first, the manner in which we conceded was a big blow to my players.
“The first 45 minutes were very positive for Al Rayyan but Persepolis played very well, were physically better and applied pressure in the second half and they went on to score not one but three goals.
“We had a player substituted due to a knock in the first half and then I decided to protect three of my players because we have another game in three days. “I don’t know what happened to Al Rayyan in the second half. It’s tough to lose a match like the way we did today.
We were playing well but lost our concentration in just five minutes," Blanc said. “I’m very proud of my team for playing very well. Obviously we had some d e f e n s i v e pressure but we need to perform for 90 minutes and not 45 minutes like what we did today.”
Persepolis coach Yahya Golmohammadi praised his players for not giving up against Al Rayyan.
“We entered the second half with the drive and motivation that we could win the match,” said Golmohammadi. “We never once lost that self confidence and therefore we won.”
“The whole team is built this way. We achieved this victory with teamwork and never once surrendered or admitted defeat. “In fact, we wanted to score a fourth goal but that didn’t happen.
I’m proud of my players for what they accomplished today. We owe it all to our fans because without them we will not have that desire to succeed,” Golmohammadi said. Up next for Al Rayyan are Al Wahda of the UAE on Tuesday while Persepolis will look to make it three wins against FC Goa.