By FOX Sports staff
After falling behind at the Hitachi Kashiwa Soccer Stadium, in the 21st minute to Masato Kudo's deflected strike, Al Shabab equalised - and grabbed a vital away goal - a minute before the break thanks to an effort by Fernando Menegazzo to claim a narrow advantage ahead of next month's return encounter.
In fact, it was the visitors who created the better chances in the second half and Preud'homme was proud of their effort, especially given it was their first game since the end of the Saudi league in May.
"I'd like to praise our players because they did a great job in our first official game of the season," he said on the AFC's official website.
"We didn't start well but after we gave away the goal, we responded very well and we created lots of chances, probably more than Kashiwa. So in that sense we could have won the game.
"Before the game, we had friendly matches and some training camps but when it comes to the first game of the season, you don't know if you have the right pace or rhythm.
"But today [Wednesday] I think I should congratulate our physical trainer. He did a great job for us because I didn't see any problems out there."
The former Belgium goalkeeper also believes the result puts Al Shabab in a good position to make the semi-finals, and took time out to praise the opposition fans for the atmosphere they created.
"We're halfway through the tie but this is a good result for us," Preud'homme added. "I know that we have lots of things to do ahead of the second leg but I have a very positive feeling that we are becoming a good team.
"I would also like to add that it was a fantastic feeling to play in front of such an enthusiastic crowd who were singing right until the end. That was a nice feeling, even though we were the opponents."
Both sides meet again on September 18 when Al Shabab host the J.League giants at the King Fahd International Stadium.