April 13, 2024
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bonacic-08AFC – KERMAN, Luka Bonacic is confident “unpredictable” Mes Kerman can continue to flourish in the AFC Champions League after boosting their qualification hopes with a 3-1 comeback win over out Qatar’s Al Sadd at Shahid Bahonar Stadium on Tuesday.

Mes’ hopes of reaching the last 16 looked over after just seven minutes as Khalfan Ibrahim opened the scoring for Al Sadd, who fought back from a goal down at half-time last week to beat Bonacic’s side 4-1 in Doha.

But a header from Brazilian striker Edinho restored parity at half-time before Ali Samereh and Paulo Zaltron ensured Mes joined Al Sadd tied for second place in Group D on six points, four points behind leaders Al Hilal who edged out struggling Al Ahli 3-2.

“I used some new and young players and fortunately they met my expectations,” said Bonacic.

“The problem with my team is that we are highly unpredictable. We get good results against some very good teams like Al Sadd and play quite poorly against weaker teams,” continued the Croatian coach, who is trying to balance continental success with a relegation battle in the Iran Pro League.

“However, I am confident if we continue playing like this we’ll even have the opportunity to catch the eyes in the Champions League.

“The result demonstrated the intention of my players to win. I am satisfied with the way we played despite the problems we had in defence.”

Al Sadd coach Cosmin Olaroiu, meanwhile, was left to concede Mes simply wanted the three points more with their qualification hopes on the line.

“We started the game very well and even scored the opener, but then it was Mes who took advantage of the free-kicks and the corner kicks to register the victory,” he said.

“After the break, they turned out to have a better fighting attitude than my boys. I can’t question their win as they really deserved it.

“The good thing about the loss is the lessons I received. I have got to know my team’s weaknesses more and that will certainly help us improve for subsequent games.

“Once again, I congratulate Mes’ players and their supportive fans. We lost, but we won’t give up in the Champions League and I will think about the future games for sure.”