BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
On a night that anything less than a seemingly-unlikely win would have condemned them to relegation from the Malaysia Super League (MSL), Negeri Sembilan recorded a rare win instead, edging Selangor 3-1 at home in their round 20 match on Wednesday.
The win slashed their gap from safety to six points with two league rounds remaining to be played, and allowed them to pip Kelantan to the eleventh spot temporarily.
The Deers' chances of top-tier survival are still very much tenuous currently, but head coach Mario Lemos allowed himself to savour the moment in the post match press conference.
"We have a very, very slim chance now," he said beaming. "This is football, anything can happen. If we'd lost tonight we would have had no chance of surviving. We'd be dead.
"But as long as we can see that 'light', we'll keep on fighting. My players showed a lot of character, it wasn't easy to come here today after five defeats. We don't want to be relegated to the Premier League, we want to stay."
Commenting on the win itself, the trainer described that it came due to improvements in their defence.
"In the previous games we played well, but conceded easy goals. You can't play in the Super League and concede easy goals. When we defend well, we have a chance to win, like what happened today," he explained.
Now, Lemos wants his men to use the momentum to win both their final league encounters, while crossing their fingers and hoping that clubs above them in the standings slip up.
"We needed this win and I think we're going to play even better football against Kuala Lumpur. I told the players that we only needed to win; even if we don't play well, even if it's a 1-0 win. We played well against Terengganu FC and we lost. We had an average game against PKNP FC and we lost. We only needed the three points today.
"Now we need to build on what we achieved tonight, as we did a lot of good things, and we need to build up our confidence. We will score, but the key is in our defence. If we don't concede, we will win the matches. And if we win our last two matches, I think we will stay in the Super League," he remarked.
In the match that was held at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium, Seremban, the goals were scored by Nicolas Velez (13', 75') and Flavio Beck (p. 17'), while Selangor's solitary goal was scored by Rufino Segovia (14').
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