With five wins from their last six matches, PKNP should have gone into the encounter at Manjung Munincipal Council Stadium against Perak with plenty of confidence but exactly the opposite happened. The home side were completely outplayed from start to finish as Perak ran away 0-4 winners.
Worse for PKNP, the defeat also meant that for the first time this season, Perak have retaken the lead over them in the league standings. The last time PKNP suffered a defeat at home, it was back in early February when Pahang dished out almost a similar result, winning 0-3 on that day.
Perak scored twice on either side of the half time break as PKNP never got into their groove in the match. Brendan Gan struck early before Gilmar Filho added a second before half time following a defensive mistake from PKNP. Shahrul Saad and Gilmar again in the second half added to PKNP's misery.
"We made a lot of mistakes in this match especially in the first 10 minutes. We were a bit loose in defence and midfield, which lead to Perak's dominance. Their midfield in Leandro and Brendan played very well. But this is not what we can actually do.
"We've not been hit by this much by them but we know we must avoid simple mistakes if we want to win against Perak. We needed to be disciplined and compact. We were punished and we must learn from it. We'll reshuffle and see how we prepare for the FA Cup," said Abu Bakar Fadzim after the match.
This match is like a rehearsal for the big FA Cup quarterfinal clash on Tuesday at the same venue where PKNP is looking to repeat their feat of reaching the semi-final stage in the 2018 competition. Abu Bakar will have only limited days to not only ensure his players recover well but also find the solution to the difficulty faced by his team on Saturday.
If PKNP are to spring a surprise or two come Tuesday, then Giancarlo Rodrigues will have to overcome Zachary Anderson in Perak's defence. The latter marked out the former in the first match but a different match could have an entirely different outcome, given how inconsistent Anderson has been this season.
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