Pahang coach Zainal Abidin refused to throw in the towel for the Super League title race despite dropping further from leaders Selangor on Tuesday.
The Elephants only managed a 2-2 draw to a resilient Armed Forces while Selangor thrashed Terengganu 4-1, leaving Pahang seven points behind from the perch. The Red Giants have 37 points followed by Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) on 35, Terengganu (30) and Pahang (30).
Despite needing the top three to drop points, Zainal believes the title was not a forgone conclusion. He hopes to see Pahang climb up the standings in the remaining four matches.
“It’s not over but the title aspirations are going to be tough to achieve. Our mission from now should be to collect maximum points from the remaining matches and hope for the best,” said Zainal.
Pahang took the lead twice, through an own goal by Ahmad Fauzi Saari (20th minute) and Saiful Nizam Miswan (69th), but Argentineans duo Juan Manuel Arostegui and Bruno Martelotto’s 69th and 77th minute goals ensure the teams shared the spoils.
“We were a bit tired after FA Cup and it didn’t help that Armed Forces desperately need points. In the end, I’m glad we managed a point,” said Zainal.
“Armed Forces worked very hard and kept it very compact at the back. They marked us so well that Dickson Nwakaeme and Matias Conti did not have much space. Even R. Gopinathan and Fauzi Roslan had little space.
“We thought we could sit back and not rush into attack, in the hope that Armed Forces would open up but it still didn’t give us much space.”
Pahang welcome Kelantan at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Saturday before matches against Sarawak, PKNS and Perak.