The Pahang players celebrate the only goal scored by their team-mate Mohd Faizol Hussain against JDT which put them into the FA Cup final on Friday. Pahang won 2-1 on aggregate. - AZHAR MAHFOF/ The Star
PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) head coach Bojan Hodak believes that his men are out of the FA Cup final because “we lost the plot in Larkin”.
The former Kelantan coach said that JDT should have wrapped up the game in the first-leg of the semi-finals in Larkin instead of letting Pahang return home with a 1-1 draw.
“We lost it in Larkin,” said a disappointed Hodak after Pahang beat them 1-0 at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Friday in the return-leg of the semi-finals to advance 2-1 on aggregate.
“We had everything going for us in Larkin but we failed to take advantage of it when we allowed Pahang to equalise,” said Hodak, who credited Pahang for defending well.
He also took some of his players to task for not performing up to expectations, especially in the first-half.
“We looked lost in midfield and some of the players did not perform in the first-half for no reason,” said Hodak.
Over at the Pahang camp, head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan was full of praise for his men.
“Thumbs up to my boys. The discpline in defence was outstanding ... they played their hearts out,” said Zainal, who last guided the Elephants to the FA Cup crown eight years ago.
He also credited the glorious goal scored by match-winner Mohd Faizol Hussain in the 81st minute.
“This boy can take shots. I told him to go for it when opportunity permits ... and he did just that,” said Zainal.
Mohd Faizol, who hails from Kluang, Johor, is basically a reserve in the squad and only gets a break when the regulars are either suspended or injured.
The 27-year-old Faizol said he is now looking forward to getting a shot playing in his first Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on June 7.
“I’m fully motivated ... I want to play in the final,” said Faizol.