Melaka United got their third draw in a row in the Super League but this was one that feels to them almost like a win. The fans at Hang Jebat Stadium were treated to a dogged performance from their team as they held their own against mighty Johor Darul Ta'zim in a 1-1 draw.
Melaka's head coach, Eric Williams was understandably pleased with the result - particularly so because they got trounced in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. His side fought till the end and was rewarded with the equaliser with three minutes of normal time left and Williams was proud of the effort produced.
"The game plan was to get to half time 0-0. So we were halfway through our plan. And we hoped to get to 60 minutes and still be 0-0 cause I thought they had a number of players that would still feel the effects after the AFC Cup game on Wednesday."
"So I said to the players that if we're still in the game at the hour mark, we can probably get something from this game. But when we went 1-0 down, the boys showed character and they stuck to their job," said Williams at the post-match press conference.
JDT had more of the ball and even created a handful of chances to put the game to bed but their inability to do so, motivated the home side. Melaka also had to thank Fazli Paat in goal for some outstanding save in the second half and Williams was happy his game plan worked.
"I thought at the end, they had more possession. But we allowed them to have the possession as long as we had our formation and our shape. In the end, the game plan worked. It's always very difficult to play against quality teams."
"So if you can't compete with the teams, you got to make sure your organisation and discipline is very good. I very proud of the players. They showed great character tonight [Saturday]."
"However, I'm very happy for our players. And now we've got our confidence back. We showed some stability in the last 3 games. I know we haven't won a game. The boys really dug deep. Good determination. And we came through," added Williams.
The heat of the match turned up a couple of notches with final whistle approaching as players square up to each other at every opportunity. Referee Suhaimimat Hassan was having a tough time keeping the discipline in check and Williams was unhappy with the way the opposite bench acted after that match.
"The game nearly went wayward towards the end because I think that basically Johor weren't happy that we equalised. There comes a time that you got to have the humility, to be humble that sometimes you cannot win every game. Very disappointed with their reactions after the game," said Mora.
The Englishman went on to criticise his opposite number and went on to revealed that his was refused a hand shake in the reverse fixture held at Tan Sri Hj. Hassan Yunos Stadium on 9 April.
"The young man has to understand, he has got a very good team. You got the best players in Malaysia, not only in JDTI but also in JDTII."
"I made a remark to him that when you beat us 7-0, you didn't have time to shake my hand. And now you shake my hand, you grip it like you want to fight me. And he said next time, we'll beat you 7-0 again."
"I said, you think a good coach, mate? So listen, come and coach my team. Let's see how good you are. You got the best players in Malaysia, so you should be winning every week anyway. Good luck to you man."
"So that's my parting words to another coach who has to take some humility. It's very easy winning all the time but when you're losing, you got to battle and battle. And you got to make sure you motivate your players - it's a different ball game."