Matias Conti in a file photo. He is serving a one-match suspension and will not be playing for Pahang against Terengganu in their Super League match on May 24. – Bernama Photo
PETALING JAYA: Pahang will not have their strongest line-up for the east coast derby against Terengganu.
The Elephants, who are in strong contention for the Super League title, will miss ace striker Matias Conti and national midfielder Mohd Hafiz Kamal for the Super League home match at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan on Saturday. The duo are both serving a one-match suspension.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan is not too worried though, saying he has faith in their replacements.
“I will miss the two regulars but I am confident it will not weaken the team in the two affected positions,” said Zainal from Kuantan on Thursday.
Argentine hitman Conti is the leading scorer for Pahang with seven goals while Hafiz plays a key attacking role in the engine room.
Zainal said it will be a challenge for the reserves in the team like Mohd Azamuddin Akil, Mohd Faizol Hussein and Mohd Fauzi Roslan to step in.
“Of course, Conti and Hafiz are regulars in the team but I expect those on the bench to be counted, as well. Now is the time for them to prove their capabilities. We cannot afford to drop points at this crucial stage of the competition.
“We have come a long way and we are still among the leading pack. We must get three points to stay on course with the leaders,” said Zainal.
Selangor lead the 12-team standings with 34 points while Pahang and Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) both trail by five points.
Pahang are also through to the FA Cup semi-finals and will play JDT in the return-leg at the Darul Makmur Stadium on May 31. The first-leg of the semi-final at the Larkin Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw.