Midfielder shines with solid defence to give Turtles sparkling start

Eager for action: Terengganu’s Habib Haroon (left) warming up ahead of the Group G match against Central Coast Mariners in the AFC Cup. — Terengganu FC’s Facebook

PETALING JAYA: Terengganu midfielder and captain Habib Haroon produced a domineering performance in midfield against A-League giants Central Coast Mariners but knew it would have been perfect if he had scored a goal.

In the opening Group G encounter of the AFC Cup, the player from Bahrain helped the Turtles shock the Australian club 1-0 at the Sultan Mizan Stadium in Gong Badak on Wednesday.

An own goal from Nathan Paul gave the home side the three points but it was the away side that had the most chances with 23, while Terengganu had 11.

But Haroon stood out as he kept things ticking in midfield and stayed solid in defence to keep the Mariners at bay.

Defensively, he made seven recoveries and in attack, he was able to make seven passes into the attacking area.

Haroon even had one shot that hit the woodwork, which he wished it went in.

“It would have been perfect if it went in but it is okay, we got the points,” he said.

“We prepared a lot for this game because it’s the first continental game for the team this season.

“We showed a lot of fight and spirit to get the win.

“It was hard work and worth it. It’s a special three points as we are on a good run at the moment.”

Last week, they had beaten Selangor 2-0 in the Malaysia Cup first-leg quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Mariners goalkeeper and captain Danny Vukovic said his side should have finished off the chances they got, of which three of them were close calls.

“We only have ourselves to blame because we didn’t finish off our chances. We had lots of them but muffed it up,” he said.

“It’s pointless to create chances when you do not convert them. We want to win games. When we head home, we’ve to work on that.”

Terengganu will next face Indonesian club Bali United at the Kapten I Wayan Dipta Stadium in Bali on Oct 4, while the Mariners will take on Filipino club Stallions Laguna at the Industree Group Stadium in Gosford on the same day.

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Football , AFC Cup , Terengganu , Habib Haroon


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