PETALING JAYA: Pahang coach Dollah Salleh remains optimistic ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final return leg.
The Elephants were edged 1-2 by East Coast rivals Terengganu at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday.
The Turtles raced ahead with goals from Malik Arif (ninth minute) and Kipre Tchetche (27th) before Ze Love kept Pahang in the tie with a goal in the 58th minute.
Dollah said despite the defeat, he was satisfied with the players’ performance as it augurs well for the return leg at the Darul Makmur Stadium on May 10.
The former national team coach added that if midfielder Safuwan Baharuddin (ankle) and Dickson Nwakaeme (hamstring) can shrug off their injuries, then their chances of entering the last four would be brighter.
He has wants goal scorer Ze Love to step up his game.
“Ze Love is performing below par. I know he can do much better. He comes with a big reputation and I want him to justify it,” said Dollah.
“We now have the advantage as we’re playing at home and if Safuwan and Dickson are back, we have a better chance of overturning the deficit.
“Last night, we made some silly mistakes but we played much better in the second half to reduce the deficit,” added Dollah.
“In our last few games, we didn’t play as well as this but we won. I’m confident if the players give more than 100%, we’ll make the semis.”
Meanwhile, Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti said that the Cup tie is still wide open.
“Overall I’m pleased with the team’s performance, particularly in the first-half but there’s still another 90 minutes to play in Kuantan and anything can happen. So it’s far from a done deal,” said Irfan.
“My instructions to the boys will be the same ... attack, attack, attack. We can’t defend for the entire match with a one-goal advantage. The best defence is to attack.
“But for now we need to forget about the FA Cup and focus on the Super League match against PKNP tomorrow.
“I’m disappointed that we lost to them at home. We could have won that match, we must get full points in Manjung.”
Terengganu are seventh in the 12-team standings with 15 points.
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