Doha: Muangthong’s lack of available personnel makes the Thai Premier League champions’ penalty shootout victory over Qatar’s Al Rayyan in the AFC Cup on Tuesday even more remarkable according to jubilant coach Rene Desaeyere.
Teerasil Dangda handed the visitors a surprise 17th minute lead in the one-off last 16 tie at Al Rayyan Sports Stadium only for Afonso Alves’ penalty 10 minutes before the break to pull the home side level.
But after the second half and 30 minutes of extra-time failed to find a winner, Group G runners-up Muangthong advanced to the last eight 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw as goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan crucially denied Al Rayyan's Daniel Goumou.
"We came to Doha with only 16 players and we had a big problem before the game as we didn't have enough players. However, when I saw the formation of Al Rayyan I was confident that we would have a good game,” said Belgian coach Desaeyere.
"I have transformed this confidence to my players and this is what was shown clearly on the field.
"In the first half we controlled the game and we had a lot of chances to score. By the end of the game, the players were affected as we had to play for extra 30 minutes."
Qatar Emir’s Cup finalists Al Rayyan had won Group E in impressive style with five wins from six games, but were left to rue an off colour night not helped by the absences of Brazilian Marcelo Tavares and Younis Ali.
"I'm disappointed with this result as we failed to get past the last 16. We played a bad game except for the last six minutes of the second period of extra time where our team improved. We didn't play well as our team didn't play as we used to do,” said Al Rayyan coach Paulo Autuori.
"We had some problems in the team and we must find a solution for the problems that we had. We didn't play as we expected, although I believe that this defeat will not affect our players.
"I want to thank the players for all that they have given in the recent period and I'm sure that they are going to make a good comeback and give all their best in the final of the Emir’s Cup.”