Pahang suffered their second straight defeat in a week after succumbing 2-1 to a spirited Negeri Sembilan in a crucial Malaysia Cup match played on Saturday night at Tunku Abdul Rahman Stadium.
The Elephants have struggled without the presence of Dollah Salleh on the bench and against the Premier League outfit, they took their time to settle into the match and that ultimately led to their defeat.
Negeri Sembilan took a 2-0 lead into half time and Pahang's assistant head coach Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi put it down to the poor start that his team had as well as the stronger motivation that seemed to come from the opposite side.
"I would like to congratulate NS for making it difficult for us and it wasn't easy for us to come back from two goals down. What we saw today was the higher desire from the NS side that helped them. We were weak early on and that's what we need to work on," said Shaharuddin to the host broadcaster after the match.
For captain Matthew Davies, the result clearly showed that there was only one team present in the match. Despite for the difference in divisions, the two teams had met earlier in the season in the FA Cup where Pahang came out triumphant but the upper hand was clearly with the team from the lower division this time around.
Pahang who had earlier in the week lost to lowly Penang side are undoubtedly a team low on confidence at the moment. Davies did not hide from the truth after the match and said that the players will have to take responsibility for what happened.
"Overall I would say very disappointing the way we play, especially such a crucial game. Not just the result that was poor but the way we play as well, we've got a lot to work on."
"The schedule is definitely difficult but having said that, Negeri also had to play the same schedule. I think we just had one too many players who didn't turn up today.
"We need two wins to have any chance to qualify for the quarter finals and now we have to wait on results from other teams which isn't ideal," said Davies.
The result puts Pahang in third spot in Group A, two points behind Negeri Sembilan. Davies and his team mates will have a chance to make amends on Tuesday when they host runaway group leaders PKNP FC who have already confirmed their spot in the knockout stage of this year's Malaysia Cup.