Saudi Arabia coach Helio Dos Anjos insisted his side deserved their 2-1 win against Uzbekistan in this year’s AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
The Brazilian coachrefused to concede his side were outplayed by the Central Asian side at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, despite seeing the Uzbeks hit the woodwork five times and have a goal disallowed for offside.
After taking an early lead through Yasser Al Qahtani after only three minutes, the Saudis survived significant pressure from Uzbekistan before doubling their advantage through second half substitute Ahmed Al Mousa in the 74th minute.
Uzbekistan pulled a goal back in the 81st minute through s Pavel Solomin before the Saudis held on to their lead in a tense final nine minutes of the game to set up an encounter in the semi-finals with defending champions Japan.
"We had a lot of chances in the game as well," said Anjos. "They had their chances and we had our own chances and it was an open game.
"The game was like a final for us and we really played very hard. We were competent in this game and the second goal we scored was great, we practiced a lot on it in training and that’s why we deserved to win."
Anjos launched a stinging attack on those who claimed his inexperienced side were fortunate to reach the last four and hailed the performance of his defence.
"I don’t agree that we were lucky," he said. "There is another team on the pitch who have great qualities and they have a great team. We have a young team who is now among the top four teams in Asia.
"Our defenders were great especially that we have only conceded three goals so far. Today Kamil Al Mousa was the first defender in the squad to receive a yellow card in the whole tournament.
"Since I started playing football I knew there is criticism in football but I don’t care a lot about criticism. I just give them a cold shoulder."
Anjos will turn his attention to the trip to Vietnam where they will be meeting Japan next Wednesday but the 49-year-old coach is more concerned about the long trip from Indonesia to the Vietnamese capital.
"Actually we felt at home in Indonesia," he said. "However, we have to travel now to Vietnam and it will be a long flight which will cause a lot of problems for us. Therefore, we will try to arrange a private jet to take us directly to Hanoi.
"The game against Japan will not be easy because they have a lot of quality players and they play quick football. We have a lot of respect for them and I will be watching their four games in the tournament."