Saba omitted from AFC Champions League on penalties
QOM - Iran’s Saba couldn’t book a place in the Group Stages of the 2013 AFC Champions League after being defeated by Al Shabab of the UAE on Saturday.
In the match held in Qom’s Yadegar-e-Emam Stadium, the host lost to Al Shabab 5-3 in the penalty shootout.
Iman Razaghirad put Saba in front in the 6th minutes. Saba created many chances but its strikers didn’t take advantage of them and with one minute remaining, Esam bin Salmin equalized the match.
Al Shabab progressed thanks to a 5-3 win in the shootout.
The Dubai-based club will now play in Group B of the AFC Champions League, alongside Qatar's Lekhwiya, Al Ettifaq of Saudi Arabia and Uzbek champions Pakhtakor.
"We deserved to qualify for the AFC Champions League. Saba had the advantage of hosting the game but my players were not influenced by the atmosphere and the fans and instead concentrated on what I had instructed them to do," said Al Shabab coach Marcos Paqueta said in the post-match news conference.
"We were clever to get the best of our few scoring chances and we were very organized in our defensive strategy. We tried to counter attack whenever possible and during extra time we proved that our players were great physically. And, finally in the penalty shootout our keeper did a great job," he added.