Phoenix fly high — thanks to veteran Rajesh’s goal


PJ City’s P. Rajesh celebrates his goal against Kelantan. - Photo by PJ City FC

PETALING JAYA: Veteran P. Rajesh has not lost his touch.

The 37-year-old scored the winning goal for Petaling Jaya City though a diving header in the 79th minute to secure a 2-1 win over Premier League side Kelantan in the FA Cup first-round match at the Petaling Jaya Stadium on Sunday.

Kelantan took the lead through Lebanese striker Fadel Antar in the 18th minute but PJ City responded six minutes later through Darren Lok’s superb header.

Phoenix coach P. Maniam was surprised with the goal scored by Rajesh.

“We brought him to add more movement but he went beyond to score with a flying header at his age! I did not expect it from him but he did it,” said Maniam.

“I am glad we got the win as Kelantan are a strong side.

“It also feels good to bounce back after losing 1-3 to Sabah in the last Super League match.”

Despite the win, Maniam wished his boys were more composed with their passes.

“We shouldn’t rush and lose the ball but in terms of commitment, I can’t fault them at all.”

Kelantan’s coach Rezal Zambery Yahya was despondent as he felt he didn’t get his tactics right and was disappointed with the finishing too.

“We showed we had the potential to compete and even took the lead. But after that, we did not take advantage of the chances that came our way,” said Rezal.

“Our attackers – Fadel, Nathaniel (Siringgo), Nixon (Brizolara) and Kervens (Belfort) – have yet to gel and they have to get their chemistry right if we want to do well in the Premier League.”

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