PAHANG will approach each match differently despite having to meet Johor Darul Takzim on three occasions this month. Pahang square off with Johor DT for the second time this month tomorrow (Friday) in a Super League clash at the Larkin Stadium after having met them in the FA Cup semifinals first leg clash on May 2 where the teams played to a 1-1 draw at the Larkin Stadium too.
On May 30, they meet again in the return leg FA Cup semifinals at the Darul Makmur Stadium, In their first encounter this season on Feb 7 in Kuantan in the Super League tie, it was Pahang who won 3-2. Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan insisted each match stands on its own.
Each game is different and has to be approached differently although the opponent is the game. One is a Super League clash and the other is a FA Cup tie. Each one is going to be competitive and closely contested as in all previous matches, said Zainal. Each match has to be approached differently as in League matches points are involved and in the FA Cup tie it is knockout match over two legs. At this point, Zainal just wants his team to redeem themselves after losing their table toppers place with a 1-0 defeat to Selangor at the Darul Makmur Stadium last weekend.
Prior to the defeat, the Elephants won all their home matches in all competitions this season. We have to get at least a point to stay in the hunt for the Super League title race, which is still open and we cannot afford to be far behind. The morale of the team is good despite the Selangor defeat as we played well but luck was not on our side. This match against Johor DT has got nothing to do with the FA Cup tie later this month. We will go into the match with a totally different attitude and tactical plan.
Dickson Nwakaeme is doubtful due muscle strains but we’ll see how it goes in training. But I have Azamuddin Akil and Faozi Roslan ready to step in. These options are good signs for the team, said Zainal.
Skipper Razman Roslan would miss the match after picking up his third yellow against Selangor last weekend. Zesh Rehman could partner Damion Stewart at the back should Nwakame also miss the match as M-League teams can only field three imports at any one time. Matias Conti is Pahang’s other import.
Pahang are in second place on 28 points, three behind Selangor with Terengganu and JDT tied at third and fourth respectively with 25 points. JDT also have a game in hand, against LionsXII on May 20.