And then there were only two. Pahang needed a late goal from substitute Zuhair Aizat to edged out Kedah in a fiercely fought contest at Darul Makmur Stadium to temporarily go top of the table, one point ahead of Johor Darul Ta'zim who will face PKNP FC on Saturday.
Dollah Salleh had the pleasure of seeing Safuwan Baharudin and Herold Goulon return to the starting line-up after both players missed out on the win over PKNP in the previous match. While suspension to Ze Love also meant a Saddil Ramdani also was involved right from the start.
The Elephants created chances throughout the match and even had the ball in the net through Mohamadou Sumareh's header in the second half but it was ruled out for a foul. The goal finally came in the 86th minute as Zuhair's shot took a wicked deflection and flew past Ifwat Akmal.
"I've said all along that we don't rely on individual players but rather as a team collective. That's my I'm not worried to put in players like Zuhair or Wan Zaharul(nizam) because I'm sure when they are put in, they will give their best."
"We've did our best. We controlled the game close to 65% but when the goal don't come, things become difficult. Overall I'm still happy with the display. Zuhair hasn't played for five matches and today he didn't disappoint me when we introduced him into the game. The winning goal means a lot for the team to do better," said Dollah in the post-match press conference.
In the first half, Pahang had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the game when Dickson Nwakaeme was fouled inside the box. But the subsequent penalty kick from Norshahrul Idlan Talaha was well saved by Ifwat, who guessed the right way.
Dollah however did not want to put the blame solely on Norshahrul and went on to praise his work in other areas of the game. The head coach would be pleased to have managed to hold off Kedah who have scored nine goals from the five matches played before last night.
"Anything can happen in football and Mat Yo himself is disappointed not to score. We don't talk about blaming anyone. Even though he missed the penalty, he still played well," added Dollah.
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