Calcutta: If anything, Al Wihdat coach Omar Mohamed almost appeared apologetic after his team thrashed East Bengal 4-2 in an AFC Cup return-leg match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.
The coach admitted that heat and humidity were their main opponents, not East Bengal, who had too many chinks in their armour. But they are a good team, Mohamed added for good measure.
East Bengal are a good side. They can play good football. But their right and left backs are poor. We tried to exploit that, Wihdats Egyptian coach said at the post match news conference.
However, the heat and humidity were just too much, the coach said through his interpreter, adding: We hope the AFC takes note of this. My boys were exhausted.
With five points from four matches, the Jordanians are now in with a shout for a quarters berth and the coach said as much.
We are now back on track. If we win our next two matches, it wont be difficult to reach the last-eight stage, he said. Al Wihdat, incidentally, are two-time semi-finalists in AFC Cup.
Mohamed admitted that he made a change of strategy since their home match in Amman. We decided to field three midfielders as a triangle upfront. They have good understanding and could move down quickly if needed. It paid off, he said.
East Bengal coach Aloke Mukherjee said the fourth goal, arising out of a faux pas from Mehtab, was the turning point of the match.
At no point did they play better than us. But when you receive a goal like that it destroys the team morale.
The major difference, since our last match in Amman, was that Gift had a very poor match. Our entire midfield was a big flop.
But Mukherjee was confident of reaching the next stage. Why not? We must win our home match against Safa. But not having Edmilson (out with a red card) would be a big blow, he said.