Pahang's team selection in 5-2 hammering a necessary risk, says Dollah

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Kedah FA
Pahang took on Selangor on Tuesday with none of their key players in the starting line-up, and were hammered 5-2 by the hosts.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


Second-placed Pahang fielded a weakened side in their week 18 Super League match against Selangor on Tuesday.

Head coach Dollah Salleh either rested or benched all of their key and foreign players, save for Indonesian attacker Saddil Ramdani. The result was a 5-2 hammering by the hosts at the Shah Alam Stadium, the Elephants' biggest competitive defeat since September 2017.

While the decision was understandable considering the fact that they will head to Ipoh for the second leg of their FA Cup semi-final tie against Perak with a 3-1 lead this weekend, the defeat may just allow league leaders JDT, currently 13 points clear at the top, to capture the 2019 title with three rounds remaining, if they defeat Melaka United on Wednesday.

Speaking in the post-match press conference, Dollah remarked that he has no regrets regarding the player selection in the encounter.

"I had to take the risk with the selection by resting our first eleven, as our priority is on the FA Cup tie. After the first leg, Matthew Davies (team captain) came to see me, saying that the team looked fatigued and suggested that they be rested [in the Selangor match]. I then discussed the suggestion further with the management, and in the end we decided to rest them.

"The players who started the match lacked match fitness and it was apparent in the first half that every department struggled, which I had expected, but I didn't expect to lose by such a huge margin. My men made many mistakes in defence, due to the fact that they lack playing minutes and did not adapt quickly. But I can't say I'm disappointed with it, because it was a risk that I had to take in order to avoid injuries to the key players. 

"In the second half (while trailing 4-0) I introduced Safuwan [Baharudin] and [Mohamadou] Sumareh, taking another risk, which allowed us to narrow the deficit (by scoring two goals) and control the game," explained the former Malaysia boss.

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