Rajagobal positive of PKNS' chances despite defeat in campaign opener

PKNS' 3-1 defeat to Terengganu in the Malaysia Cup has stretched their winless streak in all competitions to eight matches.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

PKNS FC opened their 2019 Malaysia Cup campaign with an away defeat to Terengganu FC on Friday.

In the Group A match, Jafri Chew's 30th minute goal cancelled out Sanjar Shaakhmedov's sixth minute opener, but Nasrullah Johan put the hosts in front again through his strike in the 38th minute, before Shaakhmedov sealed the win deep in injury time.

The defeat has also stretched the Red Ants' winless streak in all competitions to eight matches.

PKNS boss Datuk Rajagobal Krishnasamy remarked after the match that his charges lost due to their penchant for conceding too quickly, despite playing relatively well.

"We had confidence that we could do well going into the match, but we didn't start the match well by playing aggressively. My men gave too much space down the flanks, and conceded too easily. 

"We managed to come back into the match, but again my men failed to close the gaps, resulting in Terengganu's second goal. This; playing well without coming away with a positive result, must not continue," he said in the post-match press conference.

They now have no other option but to win their next match, away to Negeri Sembilan next week.

"We have to win against Negeri Sembilan, and I still have players that I can field.

"I didn't start with Rodney (centre back Rodney Celvin), Gabby (forward Gabriel Guerra), [winger] Mahali Jasuli and Gurusamy (midfielder Gurusamy Kandasamy), who are our regular players. Their selection depends on the result of the other match in the group this weekend (Negeri vs Kedah)," explained the AFF Championship-winning former Malaysia coach.

He however reminded the press that his team is determined to give the others a run for their money in the competition.

"Everyone has been saying that the group favourites are Kedah and Terengganu. But I'm confident that if my players focus on the task at hand and be more tactically disciplined, we still have a chance.

"For example, last year we drew against Terengganu here in the league, and we held them to a draw again here in the league this year. Tonight is our first defeat in Kuala Terengganu. We still have our home matches against them, Kedah and Negeri. My team needs to believe in themselves and play with determination in order to reach the knockout stages. It's only the first match, and we need to stay positive," said the 63-year old trainer.

Follow Goal Malaysia's Instagram account to see photos and watch videos from Malaysian football!