BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
After seeing his side fall to a 3-1 defeat to Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) in their last Malaysia Cup group match, Selangor boss Maniam Pachaiappan now must prepare his side to face Group C winners Kedah this Saturday, the first of their two-legged quarter-final matches.
In the match at Larkin on Saturday, Maniam's charges managed to cancel out Mohammed Ghaddar's 16th minute opener through Rufino Segovia's equaliser in the 28th minute, but just two minutes later the home side took the lead again through Gary Steven Robbat's goal. Ghaddar added their third and his second of the night in the 75th minute. Both sides had already confirmed qualification before the match, but the result meant that the Southern Tigers finished the group stage top of Group D, with the Red Giants finishing in second.
Photo from Johor Southern Tigers Facebook
According to Maniam, his side played well in the match, until they conceded the second goal.
"In overall, after JDT went ahead in the 16th minute, we managed to respond well through the 28th minute equaliser. But JDT's second goal in the 30th minute killed the momentum of the match and had we not conceded the second goal, I think Selangor's chances of going toe-to-toe against JDT in this game would still be there.
"At the same time, we also have to admit that JDT played well in front of their own fans and dominated 60 to 70 per cent of the game. We need to work on many things in the defence, especially when facing the opponents' set pieces," explained the former AirAsia FC head coach.
Now Maniam's attention has turned to their next match, their quarter-final Malaysia Cup clash against Kedah. The exact date of the first leg match will be decided in the coming one or two days; either Friday 15 September or Saturday 16 September.
"Of course, Kedah are a good team. We have a week to focus on certain aspects to make sure we do not concede, while at the same time trying to create a lot of chances to score.
"It is about the players' confidence. I believe in the coming week I just have to convince the players that they can perform at the highest level.
"After all we will play at home in the first leg, and with a good form prior to this match, I believe that they will be able to bounce back from this 3-1 defeat to face Kedah," noted Maniam.