* Pahang in better frame of mind to face Selangor after defeat to JDT
* We have rectified the shortcomings, says coach Zainal
After losing their opening matches by identical 2-0 scores, Pahang and Selangor cross paths at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan in Saturday’s Super League biggie – each ready to redeem their battered pride and haul themselves back on track.
Pahang suffered a 2-0 defeat to last year’s Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim at the Larkin Stadium on Jan 31 in the Charity Shield match. The curtain raiser always doubled up as a league match. At Kuala Terengganu’s Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, the Turtles came off 2-0 winners over the Red Giants.
It was Pahang’s first defeat at the hands of the Southern Tigers in six matches since last year and head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan admitted that Pahang played “below par” at Larkin.
On the other hand, despite the defeat to Terengganu, Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic has cockily said “I fear no one” and named teams like Pahang and JDT.
“We played well and had the chances against Terengganu and even hit the post,” said the Australian. “I fear playing no one. Pahang is no exception. We are going there for a one. My players gave their best against Terengganu and I know they will give their best against Pahang.”
Zainal, however, is not bothered about what Mehmet has to say.
“I am just concerned with my team. This is our first home match and we are looking at a winning start to make up for the defeat to JDT. I admit that we played below par in the Charity Shield and there were many shortcomings…we had two weeks to work on the shortcomings and I am confident it will be a better performance from Pahang in Kuantan.”
In the same breath Zainal admitted that his four foreigners – Damion Stewart (Jamaica), Zesh Rehman (Pakistan) and strikers Matias Conti (Argentina) and Dickson Nwakaeme (Nigeria) were not up to the mark against JDT.
.International Azamuddin Akil will sit out the Selangor match due to a hamstring injury. He also did not play against JDT. Also missing action against the Red Giants is tough tackling defender Saifulnizam Miswan who is still under suspension for a red card offence against JDT in last year’s Malaysia Cup final. Saifulnizam was slapped a two-match suspension for the red card.
“We have tightened up things and what I have seen in training gives me confidence. It is never easy playing Selangor but our morale is high and the players want to make up for the disappointment against JDT,” added Zainal.