Gomez: The players were tired

Johor Darul Ta'zim head coach Mario Gomez believes that his side drew with South China on Tuesday due to the players being fatigued by a heavy workload.

The first leg of their AFC Cup quarter-final ended in a 1-1 draw, with the Malaysia Super League champions scoring first through Luciano Figueroa's penalty in the 47th minute. 

However, South China striker Mahama Awal equalised in the 64th minute when he slotted the ball into the bottom corner following some neat interplay with fellow forward Chan Siu Ki. 

But, Gomez attributed South China's goal to the fact that his team were tired as a result of a congested fixture list.

"We have played eight games in 25 days and after 70 minutes the players were tired," Gomez, who used to coach South China, told the South China Morning Post. "I know South China will chase everything and it was difficult for us when we were physically not so good."

Gomez added that his side have a good chance of advancing to the semi-finals even though South China have the upper hand heading into the second leg at Mong Kok Stadium on September 15. 

"Now it’s a case of resting and working for the return leg," he said. "We must do some work and I think we can win in Hong Kong."

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