Al-Ittihad coach Gabriel Calderon said last night’s 6-2 demolition of Nagoya Grampus was one of the best performances he had seen from his side.
The Saudi Arabians found themselves in a peculiar position early in the Asian Champions League semi-final first leg when they were a goal down despite having a man extra after Nagoya’s Akira Takeuchi was sent off in the 6th minute.
Al-Ittihad managed to equalise but then went behind again and the scoreline stayed at 2-1 until the 66th minute when the whole dynamic of the match changed and the home side went on a demolition, scoring five goals in the final 25 minutes.
Calderon was absolutely delighted that his team managed to produce when it was needed.
“I think we achieved 50% of our mission as we have another match left in Japan and I will advise my players to forget about this score,” said the Argentine.
“My players played one of the best matches since I took my position with Al Ittihad as we came from a defeat to win an important match against one of the greatest teams in Japan.
“Nagoya surprised us with the early goal but we recovered a few minutes later and after Nagoya's second goal my players failed to finish many scoring chances but concentrated after the break and secured the victory.”
Al-Ittihad will now try to keep their four-goal lead intact when they meet Nagoya in the return leg at the Mizuho Athletic Stadium next Wednesday October 29.