PETALING JAYA: Sarawak coach S. Balachandran admitted he took a big risk by listing only one goalkeeper when his squad faced Terengganu in the Super League match at the Sultan Mizan Stadium in Gong Badak.
The former national Under-16 head coach had to resort to this after two other reserve goalkeepers were down with injuries and fever.
Balachandran, who only took over as head coach in June after B. Sathianathan withdrew due to health reasons, only listed six players on the bench in the squad’s narrow 0-1 defeat.
Terengganu earned their narrow win at home, thanks to Kpah Sherman’s strike in the 72nd minute.
Despite the defeat, the Sarawak goalkeeper Tauffiq Ar Rasyid deserved praise for successfully thwarting many dangerous attempts from the home team.
“We had to make changes after our reserve goalkeeper had a fever and another suffered an injury due to having to go through such a busy schedule.
“For that reason, we could only field one goalkeeper. Praise must be given to Tauffiq after he performed well without any injury but if the opposite had happened, I am ready with a strategy,” said Balachandran.
Commenting further, the former assistant coach of the national senior squad from 2018 to 2021 said Sarawak were unlucky not to bring home at least one point.
“We came to Terengganu aiming to collect at least one point. Our players fought well in the first half with several accurate attempts but we were unlucky to get a goal,” he said.
“I will need to change my tactics to avoid dropping points again for the next few matches because my target is to at least finish the Super League campaign in eighth position.”
Sarawak are lying third from bottom with 13 points from 16 matches.
In another Super League match, Pahang came good in the last five minutes to earn a 2-2 draw against Melaka at the Hang Jebat Stadium.
Shahrul Nizam Nadair came to Pahang’s rescue with the equaliser in the final minute.
David Rowley reduced the deficit for Pahang earlier in the 87th minute. Melaka led 2-0 through Ifedayo Olusegun and Adriano Narcizo in the 38th and 51st minutes.