With the FA Cup semi-final berth secured and the team firing on all cylinders, Pahang head coach Dollah is embarking on another mission – to close the gap at the top of the Super League against leaders Johor Darul Takzim.
Pahang will face JDT in a top of the table clash at the Larkin Stadium in Johor Bahru on Tuesday with the Southern Tigers sitting on top with 30 points from 12 matches – five points ahead of Pahang on 25.
Kedah lies in third place with 19 points from the same number of matches, followed by Selangor on 18 while three teams – PKNS FC (18-15), Melaka United 13-14) and Terengganu (15-17) are bunched on 16 points, separated by goal difference.
“Without a doubt, the return of Dickson (Nwakaeme) and Safuwan (Baharudin) gave the team stability overall…not forgetting the confidence,” said Dollah from Shah Alam on Sunday.
“The team missed them and this was reflected when we lost 2-1 to Terengganu in the FA Cup (first-leg quarter-final) and to PJ City (2-0, in a league match). Against PJ City it was more of tiredness which affected the team.
“I expected the FA Cup win over Terengganu but I did not expect the scoreline. Everything fell into pieces with the return of Dickson and Safuwan. It was a confidence-boosting win and…now for JDT.”
JDT and Pahang drew 1-1 win in the first round league match in Kuantan on April 28 with Herold Goulon netting for the Elephants and Gonzalo Cabrera equalizing for the visitors. The Southern Tigers also had their Brazilian defender Mauricio red-carded in the first half.
“Reaching the FA Cup semi-finals have inspired us. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve a positive result at Larkin to narrow the gap at the top,” added Dollah who drove back to Shah Alam after the match.
In the FA Cup semi-finals Pahang, the defending champions, will face the winners of the Perak-PKNP (Perak SEDC) encounter. The two Perak teams clash in the return-leg quarter-finals at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh tonight (Saturday). The first-leg in Manjung ended in a scoreless draw. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH