Zainal’s last minute change helps Penang secure first league win

That’s mine: Terengganu’s Kpah Sherman (right) vying for the ball with Penang’s Rafael Vitor during the Super League match at the City Stadium. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: A last minute tactical change by newly hired Penang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan paid off big time.

The Panthers finally secured their first win in the Super League following a stunning 2-1 win over Terengganu at the City Stadium on Wednesday.

Many had expected Terengganu to dominate as Penang’s key striker Casagrande had been ruled out following a cheekbone injury on the eve of the clash but the northern state pulled off a surprise.

Penang started well when they went ahead in the match through Lebanon striker Hilal El-Helwe in the 23rd minute.

Terengganu bounced back three minutes into the second half with an equaliser through national player Faisal Halim but their joy only lasted two minutes as Penang regained their lead with the winning goal from T. Saravanan.

Penang climbed one rung from bottom of the 12-team standings ahead of Sarawak on goal difference with seven points.

“I had to modify the team structure, especially on the attacking side, after we lost Casagrande at the last minute,” said Zainal.

“We knew Terengganu had good attacking force in Manuel Ott, Habib Haroon, Faisal Halim, Faiz Nasir, Kipre Tchetche dan Kpah Sherman.

“So, we had to keep an eye on these players. God willing, everyone carried out their duties well and showed strong determination to win three points,” said Zainal.

Zainal, who replaced Thomas Trucha, whose contract was terminated following a string of defeats early this month, admitted there were room for improvement.

“We’ve defended well as a team but we still lost possession.

“We will go through the photo and video analysis of last night’s match to understand the transition and the areas we need to strengthen,” he said.

Terengganu coach Nafuzi Zain admitted his team were slow off the starting block and took things easy especially in the first half.

“We tried to get back into the game after we drew level at 1-1 but the game changed. Penang scored again and rode on that momentum,” he said.

“There were many opportunities from Kpah and Kipre but the Penang defence played brilliantly.”

Terengganu maintained their position in seventh spot in the Super League with nine points.

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

penang , football ,


Next In Football

Soccer-It's war! Australia promise Argentina a battle in last 16
Soccer-Argentina will 'break our backs' to beat Australia, says Scaloni
Soccer-Uruguay opt for Suarez against Ghana in re-run of 2010 showdown
Soccer-Ronaldo leads Portugal against South Korea after injury scare
Soccer-Berhalter hoping to draw on Dutch lessons in last 16 tie
Soccer-World Cup 2022 top goal scorer: who could win Golden Boot?
Soccer-Dutch can overcome strong U.S. threat, says in-demand Van Gaal
Soccer-World Cup 2022: which teams are out of FIFA tournament?
Soccer-Tunisia's Khazri announces retirement from national team
Soccer-German FA demands analysis for World Cup flop with Euro 2024 in sight

Others Also Read