Safiq Rahim popped up with an important goal, a minute before half time as his headed goal made the score 2-2 for Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) going into half time against Ceres-Negros FC in AFC Cup action on Wednesday night.
Had the midfielder not provide the pivotal goal, JDT could have gone into the break feeling despondent given how they gave two goals away after initially taking the lead. When it came, it gave fresh impetus for JDT to come out after half time more confident to find the winner.
When spoken to after the match, Safiq chose to look on the more positive sides but warns that his team will have to dig deeper in the second leg if they are to progress to the next stage of the competition.
"For me, both sides have a chance. Ceres are one of the better teams. The one goal advantage is still ours. We have to be more discipline, concentrated and focus. Anything can happen over there. I hope we still can qualify," said Safiq.
The mercurial midfielder knows that JDT weren't on their best in the first leg but hope that his team mates will take plenty of heart from the manner they came back from 1-2 down to eventually win 3-2.
"We have our good games before but those are in the past. We cannot take the easy way. Maybe tonight [Wednesday], we have certain parts that didn’t do too well because we conceded twice. But end of the day, we can come to win and that’s good," added Safiq.
With the second leg scheduled to be taking place just five days after the start of the Ramadhan month, the players with whom majority are Muslims - will have to go through their fasting month. However, Safiq refused to let that be an excuse and he's adamant that they players are experienced enough to adjust accordingly.
"Among the players, we have played in the fasting month before. Even in the league we played last season. We have the experience. What is important is for us to keep our momentum and take our chances. I’m confident my team mates can overcome Ceres if we follow what is instructed," explained Safiq.
The goal against Ceres is only Safiq's third in this year's competition, having scored eight in the same competition last year.