South China head coach Casemiro Mior believes that his side deserved to beat Johor Darul Ta’zim in the first leg of their AFC Cup quarter-final in Johor Bahru on Tuesday.
Argentine Luciano Figueroa scored Johor's only goal after converting a penalty in the 47th minute after South China defender Bojan Malisic was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box.
Striker Mahama Awal grabbed an equaliser for South China in the 64th minute to hand Mior's men a crucial away goal.
Mior has expressed his delight at the result, despite failing to end the Malaysia Super League champion's 17-match unbeaten streak at home.
"I thought we were the better team and deserved the result," Mior told the South China Morning Post. "If you asked me before the match will I accept 1-1, I would say definitely.
"I’m very proud of my players. We respect Johor but we never played for a draw. We wanted to win."
Goal-scorer Awal dmitted that it was slightly unnerving to be playing in front of 14,700 people, but he beleives that his side handled the pressure extremely well and will now be looking to book their spot in the semi-final by winning the second leg at Mong Kok Stadium on September 15.
"We were a bit nervous but I think we handled it well," he said. "We’ve played in big crowds before and we showed what we can do."