Coach labels players “heroes” after dramatic cup knock-out

Maldives coach Drago Mamic has described his players as “heroes” after their dramatic extra-time defeat in yesterday’s AFC Challenge Cup semi-final.

“I told the players after the game that they are my heroes and I am proud of them and the whole country must be proud for what these boys showed today,” said Maldives coach Drago Mamic.

The Maldives exited the tournament after having fallen behind twice to the Philippines n the match before levelling the score. A third comeback proved too much for the team, however, after Chris Greatwich put the Philippines ahead once more in the 104th minute.

“Both teams should have won today if this can exist in the rules,” said Mamic. “But unfortunately the rules are very clear that who scores more goals will be the winner and that is why this time the Philippines scored three and we scored two and my congratulations to the Philippines as they scored more goals.”

The Phillipines will go onto play Palestine in Friday’s final after beating Afghanistan 2-0 in the day’s early kick-off. The winner will go on to appear in next year’s Asian Cup in Australia.