Sticking to game plan led AGMK to historic AFC Champions League win, reveals Kasimov

Shabab Al Ahli took the lead through Ahmed Alhashmi in the 28th minute, but late goals by Jovan Dokic and Akramjon Komilov secured AGMK their first-ever win in the AFC Champions League group stage, as well as placed them back in the running for a place in the Round of 16.

The win took AGMK to four points, level with Tajikistan's FC Istiklol in Group D and three behind leaders Al Hilal SFC of Saudi Arabia.

“We had a fantastic and tough match,” Kasimov (pictured below) said. “We did our best to get the victory and make history today.

“Shabab Al Ahli are a very strong team, they were a sharp and an attacking team, but we were still able to win the match.”

Mirdjalal Kasimov - AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2021 - Match (1)

Despite conceding a first half goal, Kasimov revealed that little changed in their game plan and was proud that his side pushed through in the final moments of the match to seal the win, drawing similarities to the 1999 UEFA Champions League final which Manchester United won.

“From the very beginning, we tried to win in each situation and to play our game,” said Kasimov. “And it was the same in the final five minutes, where we had to keep our tempo. I told them to keep playing the way that we have played."

“For an example, in the match between Bayern Munich and Manchester United in 1999, where they (Bayern) were defending in the last three minutes but still lost the match. So I told my players to not keep defend and keep the same tempo.

“I would also like to thank the people who were supporting us back in Uzbekistan, who continued to believe in us. After we lost to Istiklol, they still kept supporting us, so we really thank them.”

Mahdi Ali - Shabab Al Ahli Dubai head coach

Defeat for Shabab Al Ahli means the Emirati club have one point to their name at the halfway stage but head coach Mahdi Ali said their campaign is far from over.

“We controlled the first half of the match, but made several mistakes and missed so many opportunities,” admitted Ali. “We did lose concentration in the final moments of the match. We hope to do much better in the next match.”

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