Pahang hold a two-goal advantage going into the second leg of the Malaysia Cup semi finals against Sarawak. But they are not letting their guard down as they are well aware of the pitfalls that await them in Kuching should they be complacent.
Rather then thinking that his team has one foot in the final, manager Zainal Abidin Hassan wants his players to think of the second leg as a totally new game, putting aside the advantage they hold, and play with passion and vigor they showed in the first half of the semi final last Saturday.
“We cannot take anything for granted and we must remain focused on the task at hand,” said Zainal.
“There is no such thing as a certainty until the final whistle blows in the second leg and we will try our level best to make it to the final.
“All I want is for the players to reproduce their form like they played in the first 45 minutes in Kuantan.
“If they can do that then the battle is half won. Sarawak will come at us with guns blazing and we must be wary of that.”
Pahang took the lead in the 29th minute when Gopinathan picked up a rebound from his own shot to put it past keeper Sani Kamsani.
They doubled their advantage four minutes later as Azamuddin Akil’s header sailed into goal and Sarawak knew they were in deep trouble.
A blunder by Sani presented Matias Conti the third goal in the 28th minute and although Sarawak pulled a goal back via Shahrol Saperi, it was not enough to salvage anything from the match.
Sarawak were without Ronny Harun (injury) and Joseph Kalang Tie (suspended) in the vfirst leg and coach Robert Alberts will be happy to have the duo back.
But the solitary away goal could well spur Sarawak in the second leg as they need a two goal win to make it through to the final.
Hence Zainal’s warning to put on hold any celebrations.