Another tight affair is on the cards when Pahang welcome Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) for the FA Cup semifinal second leg at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Friday.
Having drew 1-1 in Larkin early this month, Pahang have the slight advantage but both sets of coaches insist it is only a slight one.
For Elephants coach Zainal Abidin Hassan, discipline would be the key to the match. He would be without the services skipper Razman Roslan, Saiful Nizam Miswan and Azidan Sarudin, who are all suspended, while Dickson Nwakaeme is doubtful.
Zainal also wants Pahang to redeem themselves for being knocked out by JDT at the same stage last year. Pahang have also not won a single match this month
“We couldn’t swallow last year’s semifinal defeat ?and have high hopes of redeeming ourselves to reach the final this time around. Pahang are in tough times and this is another tough game but we are prepared for it.
“Results between us have always been close but JDT are improving in recent games. We need to stay focused throughout the match, even if it goes to extra time and penalty kicks.
“I believe the team who is more disciplined would progress. I had to reshuffled my backline this week and it has looked good in training,” said Zainal.
As for JDT manager-coach Bojan Hodak, he is confident JDT would overcome Pahang’s advantage by scoring goals.
“Our strikers, Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Luciano Figueroa, have been performing well recently. We need to be disiciplined too but we would definitely score.
“The away goal advantage is not a such a big advantage for them but the home crowd would be. As for players availability, only Marcus Santos is doutbful,” he said.