PENANG: Penang E&O striker Petar Bazic scored the solitary goal in the Super League match against Negri Sembilan to make a memorable debut for the Panthers at the City Stadium on Sunday night.
The 28-year-old former Red Star Belgrade youth team striker had the feeling that it was not going to be his night when close marking from Negri’s Jason William and P. Sivanathan prevented him from getting a touch of the ball for the first 15 minutes of the match.
But Bazic took full advantage when Penang were awarded a corner in the 30th minute. He stole in at the near post to glance in a header to maintain the Panthers’ unbeaten home record.
BAZIC: Scored the goal in Penang’s 1-0 win over Negri Sembilan.
“When I first arrived here, I did not set a target to score a specific number of goals. I said that I would not hold back and I will give my best effort in every match,” he said.
“And it certainly feels good to score the winning goal in just my first league match for Penang.”
Arriving from a very cold winter in Eastern Europe, the striker had done well to get acclimatised within a short period of time. But Bazic admitted that he was still not at his best.
“I don’t want to use the climate as an excuse. But it has been a difficult two weeks for me and I am still trying to adapt to the team’s playing style,” he said.
“I have to thank the Penang coaches and officials, who did a great job to help me settle down here. I will improve. I know that I can play much better than I did against Negri.”
Full points from the match moved Penang out of the relegation zone. They are now in fifth place in the eight-team league, just three points behind both Negri and Malacca Telekom.
Coach Josef Herel said: “Maybe he (Bazic) is a good luck charm to turn things around for us. It may not be a fantastic performance from Penang but we came out with a vital win.
“Penang have moved out of the bottom two but we are not out of danger yet. With Perlis and Pahang on the rise and both Negri and Telekom slipping up in the standings, it is important that Penang keep up and are not left behind.”
With the league taking a three-week break, Penang’s next task is to overturn a 0-2 FA Cup first-round first-leg deficit against Kelantan on March 1 at the City Stadium.