BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
After Pahang fell to a 2-0 defeat to Kedah in their round 11 Malaysia Super League (MSL) match in Alor Setar, midfielder Safuwan Baharudin has urged his Elephants teammates to improve and work on their team chemistry.
The match on Tuesday saw the debuts of mid-season foreign signings Austin Amutu and former Canada international Issey Nakajima-Farran for Pahang, as replacements for Chan Vathanaka and the injured Forkey Doe. Pahang fielded four of their foreign signings in the clash including Safuwan, while Kedah fielded only two; Indonesia winger Andik Vermansah and midfielder Liridon Krasniqi.
However, it was the hosts who did all the scoring in the game, with captain Baddrol Bakhtiar scoring from a free kick in the 45th minute, and Krasniqi sealing the win in the 89th minute.
Kedah vs Pahang match highlights
"They (Kedah) dominated us, we were outplayed for sure. We did not press them enough, and they were first to every ball. We came back in the second half slightly better, but we need to improve on the team performance. We'd played much, much better as compared to tonight.
"It's disappointing... it's a boring game as we didn't push ourselves to see where we stand," said the Singapore international in the post-match interview with the match broadcaster.
The 26-year old also urged his team to overcome the unavoidable disruption that has been caused by the recent player replacements, as they have been dropping points in their recent league matches.
"We are in a disruptive moment and this is not the first time. We had a few issues back in January when we signed Patrick (forward Patrick Cruz) due to last minute changes, and now with the new imports coming in, we are back to where we were.
"We have to sort things out as soon as possible because we've dropped eight points in the last three games. We were in a battle for the top spot once against JDT, there's still a long way to go. We will face them back-to-back, so we still have a chance to finish in the top four," explained Safuwan.
The result at the Darul Aman Stadium did not move Pahang from the third spot, but Kedah are now level with them on 18 points in fifth place. Terengganu in fourth are also on 18 now, after they defeated second-placed Perak 2-0 at home on the same night. But the standings may change further, when three more round eleven encounters take place tonight.