Lack of patience, cost us, says Ng

SOUTH China coach Raymond Ng Wai-man said his players lost their concentration after their early goal - and this lack of discipline led to their 4-2 demise.

Ng said: ''I said at the pre-match meeting that we should not go off too fast but let them attack us because our midfield and defence are strong enough to organise counter-attacks.

''Although I was delighted with our early goal, our players didn't have the patience to capitalise on the goal.

''The whole team should be responsible for the loss and I don't want to blame just one or two players. It is not fair to say Leung Cheuk-cheung's unsatisfactory performance in goal was the main reason why we lost. He has just recovered from an arm injury and he doesn't have the experience in such an important international game. The pressure for him was too much.

''Unfortunately, we will be losing two defenders for the return leg - Chan Wai-chiu and Ku Kam-fai, who are suspended - so there will be big trouble for us in Saudi Arabia.

''It was definitely a game of mistakes.'' South China goalkeeper Leung Cheuk-cheung said: ''It was my fault that we lost the first goal . . . I was too slow.

''But I have to blame the pitch for the third one as my tracksuit trousers caught on the turf and I could not hold the ball.'' South China striker Anto Grabo said: ''I don't know what the other guys were doing. We were supposed to put more pressure on the Saudis but we didn't.

''And we always lost their playmaker, Jose Carlos Garcia. Whenever he shot I couldn't see any of our defenders near him.

''I think some of us were not used to the turf as the dust layer was too thick - but it was just fine to me.'' South China midfielder Chiu Chung-man said: ''The pitch was very good to play on - too good because we are not used to that kind of surface.

''I am not saying the condition of the turf was bad but the grass came loose easily.'' The Saudi squad refused to talk to the media at the ground, asking them to follow them to their hotel.