AFC Champions League 2019: Persija Jakarta coach Ivan Kolev praises his players despite 3-1 defeat

Indonesia club Persija Jakarta’s coach Ivan Kolev has praised his players in the aftermath of their 3-1 loss against A-League side Newcastle Jets in the AFC Champions League 2019 second preliminary stage.

Persija travelled to Newcastle, Australia after having defeated Singapore’s Home United FC in their first preliminary round match of the tournament. And they did not disappoint their fans for the second consecutive away match.

After the hosts started the match strongly and scored the opener through Ronald Vargas in the 49th minute, they fought back to get the equalizer through Ramdani Lestaluhu in the 72nd minute to take the match into extra time.

The extra 30 minutes, however, were too much for the Indonesia side as Newcastle scored two extra-time goals to book a place in the next round of the competition. Kolev was happy with the shift his players put in and touched upon the issue of stamina and fitness as well.

“We came without our five main players, this is certainly a difficult thing for us. But other players played very well against the Newcastle Jets,” he said after the match.

“We had a bit of stamina problems because our competition had not started because we were just training. We had opponents from Singapore last time and then against heavy opponents here it is very difficult,” he added.

Newcastle Jets will now play Kashima Antlers in the next round of AFC Champions League.