|FROM PASIR GUDANG STADIUM
By Eddie Ridzwan
Two penalties converted by Ridzuan Abdunloh and a further goal courtesy of Maxsius Musa settled things for Harimau Muda on Tuesday afternoon, as they overcame Tanjong Pagar United in their S.League game.
The hosts' coach, Razip Ismail, was all smiles as he entered the room after the match.
“I am very happy that we collected three points today," he began.
"The boys worked hard from the start to finish and it was a good disciplined display by them."
Razip felt that the sweltering heat dealt a huge blow to Tanjong Pagar.
“It is not a big factor but I believe the weather was doing worse off to Tanjong Pagar than they did to us," he observed.
"If you noticed, they were more tired in the second half [because they were] playing under the sun."
The Malaysian also believes that confidence is running high in his camp, but they also have to be more consistent in their displays.
“A win against a club like Tanjong Pagar gives us more confidence [going forward]," he asserted.
"We are not lacking of confidence but we just need to have more consistency in our season. We do need to work on our finishing to a certain extent.
“Today’s game was our biggest win and also only our second clean sheet of the season. I believe we can maintain the winning and scoring streak as we did today. We played with only one striker as Akmal [Ishak] was injured and Syafwan [Syahlan] were ill."
His opposite number, Patrick Vallee, was left cutting a frustrated figure as his side succumbed to their second consecutive loss.
“Nothing went wrong for us and I refuse to blame my players for the defeat,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate Harimau Muda for playing a good game; they deserved to win today. On the other hand, we did not deserve to win today."
The French coach believed that the first penalty changed the game for his side.
“We started off well in today’s game and had many attacking chances but the first penalty changed the game for us," he pointed out.
“We came back in the second half with good intentions but having only played one or two minutes, they won another penalty and the game was finished by then. But still, it was no excuse for us [to lose]."
Valle also does not believe that missing two of his key players through suspension was the reason for their defeat.
“Ahmad Latiff and [Aurelien] Herrison are both suspended and we only have to adapt,' he explained.
"It is not easy but we have to learn how to adapt with suspensions. It is the rules of the game and I believe we need to respect it.
When asked about their next game with Warriors FC, Vallee seemed rather vague about it.
“Well, we will see in the next four days how the match will unfold," he said.
"We certainly will not give up and tomorrow, we have to start training and preparing for the match."
Harimau will next welcome Woodlands Wellington to the Pasir Gudang Stadium, while Patrick Vallee and his Jaguars play hosts to the Warriors at Queenstown Stadium.