Skipper steers KL with golden goals

PETALING JAYA: Everything Paulo Josue (pic) touched turned to gold against Tampines Rovers.

The Kuala Lumpur skipper did not put a foot wrong against the Singaporean club as he steered the City Boys to the AFC Cup Asean zone semi-final with a 2-1 win in their final Group H tie at the Cheras Football Stadium on Thursday.

The 33-year-old playmaker stood out with two brilliant goals and could have had one or two more if not for the heroics of Tampines goalkeeper Syazwan Buhari.

Josue did not only threaten to score more goals but also created six chances for his teammates and was rightly adjudged the man of the match.

For any player, missing a hattrick would have been been a little disappointing but not so for Josue as he gave an answer befitting of a leader.

“I’ve no problem not scoring a hattrick. My job is to support the other guys on the pitch. Yes, we wanted a third and fourth goal to top the group but we still managed to finish as the best runners-up in the Asean zone,” he said.

“As long as the team win, I’m a happy man. I created chances for others so that we could score more but the Tampines keeper denied them.

“It’s my job to score when I’m in the penalty box or outside. Whenever I see Zhafri (Yahya) and Romel (Morales) making attacking runs, I make myself available to finish off the chances.”

KL will face Vietnamese club Viettel on Aug 10 in Hanoi and Josue said that they need to step up to make a bigger impact in the continental competition.

“Before we fly to Hanoi, we have to improve on many things especially our concentration and finishing,” he added.

Meanwhile, coach Bojan Hodak said he had expected a tricky match but wished his charges were more potent upfront.

“Tampines had better ball possession while we kept losing it. We knew we had the space and relied on quick counters but our biggest problem this year was the finishing,” said the Croatian.

“The game could have been 6-1 for us or even 2-2 but nevertheless we are going to the next round.”

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