BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Despite heading into the second leg of their FA Cup semi-final encounter against Perak with a 3-1 lead, Dollah Salleh's Pahang conceded three first half goals in the second leg encounter that went unanswered, to crash out of the competition.
Brendan Gan's 34th-minute header opened the scoring at the Perak Stadium, before Partiban Janasekaran added their second in the 41st minute after he was released by Careca's through pass. Just a minute later, Nor Hakim Hassan's cross from the left forced Faisal Rosli to poke the ball into his own net. The hosts refused to sit back and defend their slim lead in the second half, but no more goals were scored by either side.
Speaking to the broadcaster in the post-match interview, Dollah placed most of the blame for the meltdown on his charges' reluctance to play attacking football.
"Our mistake was failing to be on the offensive, despite me having told the players that we're not here to defend our lead. And that led to our defeat.
"My men were too scared of conceding, which caused them to be too focused on defending. They only started playing after conceding the third goal, which was too late. Things simply did not go our way afterwards," said the former Malaysia boss to interviewer and former Malaysia international, Stanley Bernard.
He however conceded that his decision to field striker Dickson Nwakaeme despite doubts on the Nigerian's fitness also contributed to the defeat.
Dollah had earlier remarked that Nwakaeme might be fielded in the match even though he is not fully fit, due to the forward's ability to boost his teammates' confidence. But in the end Nwakaeme massively underwhelmed in the Saturday encounter.
"I am the one to blame for fielding Dickson. He was unable to contribute despite the expectations we had of him."
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