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Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 4:32:00 PM
Wednesday September 18, 2013 MYT 5:13:19 PM
by loganath velloo
Pahang's Mohd Amirul Hadi Zainal blasts the ball past Negri Sembilan's Mohd Alif Shamsudin in their match on Tuesday. Pahang won 3-0.
GEORGE TOWN: Negri Sembilan coach Ridzuan Abu Shah will not lose any sleep despite witnessing his side being outclassed 3-0 by Pahang in their Malaysia Cup Group C penultimate match in Kuantan on Tuesday night.
The defeat resulted in the Deer dropping down to third in the standings with seven points, trailing both Pahang and Kelantan by one point with just a match to go.
Despite what it looks like, Ridzuan remains cool. With Pahang and Kelantan taking on each other in Kota Baru on Saturday, he knows that Negri can still make it to the quarter-finals.
An outright win in Paroi against the group’s bottom-team Terengganu, who are already out of contention, will be enough to see the 2011 champions through to the quarters.
In the first round, Negri pulled off a shock 2-0 win over the Turtles in Kuala Terengganu.
“We came to Kuantan seeking at least one point but it was just not our day,” said Ridzuan.
“The silver lining for Negri is that we control our fate and don’t need to worry about the result in Kota Baru. We need to go all out against Terengganu at home and get the three points needed to qualify for the quarter-finals.”
Pahang coach Dollah Salleh was delighted after second-half goals from Matias Conti, R. Gopinathan and Azidan Saruddin ensured the Elephants stayed ahead of Kelantan, who were 3-1 victors over Terengganu, on goal difference.
Pahang, who drew 1-1 with the Red Warriors in the first round in Kuantan, only need another draw against the defending champions to go through.
“Negri were defending deep in their own half in the first half but we stayed patient. Our strategy to push forward through the flanks in the second half enabled us to score three times.
“I am happy with the performance of my boys, who played to expectations. This was probably our best performance in the Malaysia Cup so far,” said Dollah.
The former international acknowledged that despite regaining the top spot in Group C with just one match remaining, Pahang could still be eliminated if they fall to Kelantan.
“We are not safe yet and face a do-or-die encounter in Kota Baru on Saturday. It is going to be very tough there, but I believe we can get the desired result if we play with the same focus and intensity displayed against Negri Sembilan,” said Dollah.
Pahang have yet to beat Kelantan in their three encounters this year. Besides the 1-1 draw in the Malaysia Cup, the Elephants drew 2-2 in Kuantan and lost 0-2 in Kota Baru in the Super League.
Tags / Keywords:
football, Malaysia Cup, Deer, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Ridzuan Abu Shah, Dollah Salleh
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