|By Khalis Rifhan
Despite dominating the first leg last week, Pahang FA crumbled in the return leg at Jalan Besar Stadium as they had no answer to LionsXII captain Shahril Ishak's double.
Lively winer Gopinathan and adventurous central midfielder Boris Kochkin were not able to play their usual game as they faced a resurgent LionsXII outfit, who took full advantage playing in front of a vociferous home crowd.
Coach Dollah Salleh conceded that his team did not deserve to come away with anything from the game, and congratulated LionsXII for their win.
“Firstly, LionsXII deserved to win. [In the] first half, we should have taken advantage; we created two to three chances, and we did not convert them. That was our mistake," said the former national player. “Overall, today's [performance] was the worst, especially in the second half.”
Dollah feel that his team's loss was down to a few factors, with one of it being the type of field that the game was being played on.
“I think it was about experience, and LionsXII really made full use of their advantage playing on artificial grass. My boys tried hard, but still they coudln't stop [the] LionsXII,"he bemoaned.
“Of course, I feel the artificial grass played a big part [in the loss].
“I had always advised my players [about Shahril Ishak]. Even though he had just return from injury, he is still the danger men for LionsXII.”
The LionsXII will next meet Malaysian Armed Forces [ATM] in the semi-final, and Dollah thinks that both sides will be making full use of their home advantage.
“Playing at Jalan Besar, LionsXII should have the advantage. Frankly speaking, it is not easy playing on an artificial grass. You see the condition - the ball bounces, and sometimes you expect the player to get the ball but [then] it goes away.
“But when [the LionsXII] play in Kuala Lumpur, it should be advantage to ATM [due to their home pitch].”