Warriors FC duo Thomas Beattie and Nicolas Velez believe their side displayed plenty of character in the 6-5 penalty shootout victory against Myanmar’s Yadanarbon FC last night.
They had to battle for 120 minutes before they prevailed 6-5 in a penalty shootout in front of a boisterous sell-out crowd at the Mandalar Thiri Stadium after the game had ended 1-1 after extra time.
Speaking to FourFourTwo after the game, Beattie and Velez shared their thoughts on their side’s successful progression into the second round of the 2015 AFC Champions League qualifiers.
“It was a very tough game in many aspects,” said English midfielder Beattie, whose main task was to shackle Yadanarbon’s James Meyer.
“It was hot especially in the first half since we kicked off at 4pm and we were playing in front of an almost-full stadium of around 30,000 people.
“We had some chances initially and we knew that we would tire in the second half, since we have played only two pre-season friendlies so far whereas they (Yadanarbon) are four games into their season.
“Thus we allowed them to have the ball and just soak up the pressure. Then extra time came, which was a tough battle to us since we lost a few guys to cramp.
“We got a goal on the counter very close to the end but they equalised shortly after.
“It went down to penalties which could be anyone’s game, but I guess luck was on our side as we ended up on the winning end.”
“They had better chances, but we played a very intelligent game,” Argentinian striker Velez said.
“Of course I was very tired going into extra time, but at that moment we have to play our hearts out for the team.
“Thus I tried not to think too much about the number of minutes which we were going to play for.”
During the penalty shootout, both Beattie and Velez showed nerves of steel by slotting home their respective efforts from the 12-yard spot – which eventually proved crucial as super-sub Andy Ahmad scored the winning spot-kick after goalkeeper Neezam Aziz had denied Si Thu Aung’s effort.
“It wasn’t easy during the shootout with the home crowd cheering them on and heckling, thus we can count ourselves fortunate to get through,” Beattie said.
“We have to thank Neezam as he stepped up to the plate and made some big saves in the game; it was a great night for him.”
It was a sentiment shared by 2014 S.League Young Player of the Year Velez.
“I was confident going into the penalties as I believed in my team-mates and I know my goalkeeper can save or two penalties,” Velez said.
“I knew if we can convert ours, we will win. That’s what happened in the end.”comments