With defences’ attention centered on Nigerian threat Dickson Nwakaeme, Pahang’s other attacking players are given more room.
Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan believes that was the reason behind the Elephants’ 1-0 win over Kelantan at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Saturday.
But the 50-year-old was quick to warn
that wasted chances could haunt them in the future and hopes their conversion rate improves against Sarawak at the State Stadium in Kuching on Tuesday.
“I was pleased to collect a win in the league after so long. But I am worried with the chances we let
slip by . It was a tight game but we had several chances to take the lead earlier and could have even double or tripled our lead.
“Fortunately, Nwakaeme was on form today. He couldn’t score because there were bodies around him but this worked to our favour. He dragged defenders to him, giving the rest more space. We had talked about this before the match.
“I’m glad to climb up to third and we must build up on this win against Sarawak. I am not thinking about the two top (Johor Darul Takzim and Selangor) though. They are well ahead and our focus should be to reinforce the third placing,” said Zainal Abidin.
Matias Conti’s 64th minute strike, after Nwakaeme was surround by three Kelantan players opened space at the other edge of the box, saw Pahang move two points clear of Terengganu for third place with 33 points with three matches remaining. They are five behind JDT while Selangor have 37 points.
The win was Pahang’s first league win since a 4-1 trashing over Sime Darby on April 19, during which the East Coast giants topped the standings.
After taking on Sarawak, Pahang return to the Darul Makmur to host PKNS on Saturday before ending their campain against Perak at the Ipoh Stadium on June 25.