Warriors FC fell to a 3-1 defeat against Indonesian side Semen Padang in West Sumatra on Monday evening, as they got their AFC Cup campaign off to a losing start at the Haji Agus Salim Stadium.
Tatsuri Inui's goal provided the visitors with a glimmer of hope after they had fallen behind to strikes from Edward Wilson and Vendry Mofu, but substitue Nur Iskandar scored in the dying minutes to give the hosts maximum points.
With such a brilliant display on the field by the Buffaloes, it was little wonder that their coach Jafri Sastra could afford a huge smile during the post-match conference.
"Our players played well today, with high spirit and great teamwork," he said.
"I am very proud and value their hard work and strong desire to win the match.
"Maybe they were affected by the humidity, and were a bit tired in the match, but I noticed that they were a good side."
Jafri’s assessment of the Warriors was spot on, as his opposite number, V. Selvaraj, acknowledged that his team was affected by the weather.
"Semen Padang played well," he admitted. "They never gave up and as a result we felt pressured. They took advantage of our players' fatigue to grab a win because it's very humid here."
Despite being on the losing side, Warriors captain Daniel Bennett congratulated his opponent and gave credit to their performance.
"They played with a brilliant tactic; they placed players with speed at a time [when] we were starting to get tired," the defender said.
"Semen Padang is a great team and they deserved the win."
Echoing Jafri’s sentiments was team captain Elie Aiboy, who was delighted with the win
"We are very happy, today the team really made an effort to win in front of our fans," he said.
"Today the pitch was in great condition, not too hard like what we experienced against Persiba [Bantul]. [We have to give] thanks to the match committee for preparing [the pitch] so well [as] this made us play better; our passing felt better."
Warriors will next host Kitchee FC (Hong Kong) at the Jalan Besar Stadium on March 12 while Semen Padang will travel to Pune, India to take on Churchill Brothers.