Karel Jarolim has insisted he is confident his Al Ahli side can beat Iranian champions Sepahan in the two sides’ AFC champions league second-leg and secure their place in the semi-finals.
The UAE side managed to play out a goalless draw in the first leg at the Foolad Shahr Stadium in Isfahan, giving them a slight advantage going into the second-leg in Jeddah. Playing in front of a packed Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium will give Al Ahli the advantage in the second-leg, but coach Jarolim will know that the tie is anything but won at this point.
The Czech coach has made it clear his team will need to produce a performance in the second-leg if they are going to see off an attacking Sepahan side desperate to grab an all-important away goal.
“We knew that Sepahan would come out strongly in attack in the first leg so our team focus was on the midfield where I thought that we played well,” the Czech told news soccer reporters.
“It’s natural that Sepahan wanted to win the first-leg, just like us. But in the next match we’ll be playing in front of our fans and we will be trying hard to wrap up the victory at home. However, a 0-0 draw doesn’t guarantee anything for us and we need to do a job at home.”
Both teams have played well to reach this point in the tournament, but Al Alhi will definitely feel they won’t have really succeeded if they go out at this point. Their Iranian opponents will know the pressure will be off them in the second-leg, and that may just prove to be the difference in Jeddah.