Pahang pay the penalty for argument over first spot-kick in shootout

PETALING JAYA: Pahang walked away with their tails between their legs after they were booted out of the FA Cup.

And it was not their 3-4 defeat to Penang that caused their embarrassment but it was the huge misunderstanding between the coaches and players just before the start of a penalty shootout that stood out like a sore thumb in the last 16 game at the Temerloh Stadium on Saturday.

The match had ended with a 1-1 draw in regulation and extra time but just before the shootout, arguments broke out within the camp as no one wanted to take the first penalty kick for the Elephants.

Coach Fandi Ahmad managed to ease the situation but the damage was done as Pahang exited the tournament.

Fandi said that his striker Kpah Sherman did not want to take the first penalty.

“There was a misunderstanding between the players and coaches.

That is all I can say. It was not a big problem but yes, we did train the day before and decided who would take penalties,” said the Singaporean football legend.

“Kpah did not want to take the first penalty, so Manu (Manuel Hidalgo) stepped up. We planned, trained and even decided the players who would take it. However, some were not courageous enough and even lacked confidence. This was the small issue before the shootout.

“We played well and created chances but were not clinical enough. My boys need to be more motivated and willing. We are fit but our discipline and mental strength have to be better.”

Sherman said: “I decided that others should take it. For a shootout, you need full focus, and if there isn’t, then it would not be good.

“I was not focused and I decided not to take the penalty.”

Ukrainian striker Mykola Ahapov, who scored the equaliser in the 79th minute, missed his penalty and centreback Mohd Fadli Shas also fluffed his spot-kick. The scorers for Pahang were playmaker Sergio Aguero, centreback Aleksandar Cvetkovic and winger Manuel Hidalgo.

Penang’s winning penalty was scored by Nabil Ahmad Latpi, who broke the deadlock in the 30th minute. The ones who buried the spot-kicks for Penang were centreback Rafael Vitor, midfielder Syamer Kutty Abba and wingback Adib Abd Raop while Shafi Aszwad Sapari missed his shot.

Nabil was cool in taking the penalty.

“I’ve taken many penalties before, especially in tense situations like a shootout. I just prayed and took my penalty. To be honest, I did not feel any pressure, I was just doing my job,” he said.

“I would like to thank the coach (Akmal Rizal Rakhli) for giving me the honour of taking the final penalty. It was also nice to score a goal during normal time. We move forward from here.”

Penang will take on Kedah in a two-legged quarter-final.

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