Zainal Abidin Hassan refuses to see their AFC Cup quarterfinal second leg against Istiqlol as a lost cause.
Having lost the first leg 4-0 away from home, Zainal feels Pahang still have a fighting chance and called his players to show they can play football in Kuantan.
“We have 90 minutes to play and anything can happen. But the first 45 minutes is where we need to reduce the deficit by going all out. That will be an indicator of our chances,” he said.
“We have a tough task ahead and I would be lying if I said otherwise. Yet, it is not impossible. This side have bounced back from losses before and I wouldn’t rule us out.
“The first leg was played on an artificial ground and it gave us a lot of problem. It didn’t help that we had some players out. This time we play on grass and I have most of my players fit,” said Zainal.
Zainal awaits the fitness reports of Dickson Nwakaeme and skipper Razman Roslan, two players who could make a difference against the Tajikistan side. The rest of the squad are available for selection.
Nwakaeme missed the first leg due to injury. He is still not back to full fitness but coming on as a sub and scoring the winner against Police in the Malaysia Cup will give Zainal reassurance on the Nigerian’s fitness.