The 2014 Malaysia Cup champions are on an ominous path towards reaching their first final in five years as they maintained their 100% start to the group stage. Their 2-1 win at Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu gives them nine points after three matches, five points better than closest rivals Perak and Pulau Pinang.
Dickson Nwakaeme got the ball rolling in the within 180 seconds of the opening whistle as he was allowed to turn inside the penalty box, the Nigerian then turned provider in the 35th minute to set up strike partner Lazarus Kaimbi for Pahang's second goal of the match.
Pahang's head coach Dollah Salleh praised his charges for their perfect start to the Malaysia Cup campaign but warned that the fight isn't done and The Elephants will not be taking their foot off the pedal just yet.
"In the first half we controlled the game and got the two goals advantage. But we got too comfortable in the second half and that we have to manage a bit. In trying to protect the lead we have, our game was disrupted. But I'm glad we still managed to collect three points and overall it was a satisfactory performance.
"We are only concentrating one game at a time. We will face Sabah again next and we are aware of what they can do, so we'll be prepared for them," said Dollah after the match.
Sabah pulled a goal back in the second half as Aguinaldo Mendes lashed home from close range in the 54th minute although there were suspicions of offside in that move. Helmi Eliza had to be alert on a couple of occasions after that as The Rhinos pushed on for the equaliser but the visitors managed to hold out until the final whistle.
One setback for Pahang will be the sending off to key midfielder Safuwan Baharudin who earned his second yellow card of the evening and his marching orders in the 85th minute. The Singaporean will miss the reverse encounter between Pahang and Sabah on August 24.
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