BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
In the match that was held at the MBPJ Stadium on Saturday, the hosts opened the scoring in the 80th minute through Pedro Enrique's penalty, after Khairulazhan fouled him in the box. But the Red Giants were spared the blushes, when they were awarded a penalty themselves in the 87th minute for a foul on Syahmi Safari, which was then converted by Rufino Segovia.
They remain without a win this season, after their first match last week, against the equally-unfancied Felda United, also ended in a 1-1 draw.
The pitch was made near-unplayable following a heavy rain just hours before the match, but players of the visiting side were just as to blame for their tepid performance on Saturday. Grenadian attacker Antonio German was jeered by their own fans when he was taken off in the second half by head coach, Satiananthan R. Bhaskran.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, the coach lamented his charges' inability to turn in a convincing performance against the minnows.
"There were improvements, but we still made errant and rushed passes. Our long balls exposed us to counter attacks.
"The condition of the pitch too made things harder for both sides," he said.
Another issue that drew his displeasure was the refereeing. Coincidentally, the match was refereed by the same official who adjudicated their match against Felda last Sunday, Suhaizi Shukri.
He however asked for patience for German, as he will discuss the latter's performance issues in the coming days.
"Maybe he has never had to play on this kind of pitch. I will talk to him as he did not play well tonight, considering that he's a foreign player.
"It won't be a warning; it's more of an advice. He played well in the pre-season friendlies and the previous match. I think the pressure got to him," explained the 60-year old trainer.
While quick to remind the press that his charges are only four points off leaders JDT, the experienced coach conceded that he may have to rope in the help of local university MARA University of Technology's (UiTM) psychology department, in order to improve his players' mental readiness.
UiTM is one of the club's partners this season, with its sports science department providing medical assistance, and its football club UiTM FC are one of Selangor's affiliate clubs, and compete in the Premier League.
"I have to refrain from going into too much detail on what I'm planning to do in order to get my team to do better, but I will have their mental states looked at. We have a collaboration with UiTM, and I intend to tap into their psychologists' expertise.
"That's part of the modern game; experts such as psychologists and dieticians. There's so much pressure these days, and coaches these days have to rely on experts in other fields as well. I hope the university can provide us assistance on the mental front," remarked the former Felda United boss.
The Red Giants' next encounter is on next Sunday, a matchday three league encounter at home against Shah Alam rivals PKNS FC.
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