AFC Cup qualifiers: We did all we could, says Essa [Express Tribune]

AFC Cup qualifiers: We did all we could, says Essa [Express Tribune]

by Natasha Raheel

KARACHI: K-Electric (KE) captain Essa Khan believes his side did all that they could despite losing 2-0 to Bahrain’s Al-Hidd FC in the Asian Federation Cup (AFC) Cup qualifying play-offs in Bahrain on Tuesday.

“We played well; I feel we did all that we could,” Essa told The Express Tribune as KE landed in Karachi on Wednesday. “It was not an easy match, especially because we were playing after a gap of almost five months.”

KE managed to contain the home side for 65 minutes before conceding the first goal through Al-Hidd striker Ifedayo Olusegun Patrick Omosuyi. The home side then sealed the win though Al-Daud in the third minute of additional time but Essa was proud of his side for putting a strong fight against an extremely ‘resourceful’ opponent.

“Al-Hidd are far more resourceful [than us],” said the 32-year-old. “Despite that, I am proud of my side for putting up a fight.”

Essa, meanwhile, is desperate for the Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) to resume.

 “We just want the PPFL to resume because, as national champions, we want to defend our title and compete in the AFC Cup again,” said Essa.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 11th,  2016.

The News International adds:

“We gave a good performance in the match and benefited a lot from playing in this game as we were up against one of the strongest sides in Bahrain. Our players learned a lot of lessons for the future,” K-Electric coach Hassan Baloch said.

“We were hoping that we could have a positive result in the match but at the end of the day the better side won,” he said.

K-Electric had recently inducted quite a few players in the side on handsome salaries in order to strengthen the line-up but it did not work.

“We were hoping to seal the result in the first half in order to avoid any pressure in the second half,” Al-Hidd coach Salman Sharida said after the match. “We tried to create some scoring chances but we failed to do so as the players were under pressure.” Salman was Pakistan’s coach in 2005-06.

Published in The News International, 11 February 2016