Pahang led Sarawak 1-0 at halftime at the State Stadium in Kuching.
Matias Conti, who led Pahang’s attack in the absence of Dickson Nwakame, found the back of the net in 33rd minute.
Nwakaeme was left on the bench as Zainal played two imports, Damion Stewart and Zesh Rehman, at the heart of defence.
Both teams had their fair share of chances and could have taken the lead prior to the Argentinean’s goal.
Skipper Razman Roslan saw an effort saved by the Sarawak custodian Fadzley Rahim in the ninth minute while Azidan Sarudin had a freekick deflected a minute later. Fadzley also saved a Faizol Hussin freekick in the 20th minute.
At the other end, Hairul Mokhtar almost headed the ball past Khairul Azhan Khalid in the 14th minute.