KUCHING: Sarawak were simply awed by Kelantan players superiority, outclassed in every department and give away the ball for the opponent to attack them relentlessly in the Malaysia Cup at Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium in Kota Bahru last Sunday night.
“Our boys simply freeze, could not think and lacked the much needed creativity when playing against stronger opponent like Kelantan,” assistant coach Farhan Abdullah told Borneo Post.
He said Sarawak players should be thinking what to do with the ball before releasing them or try to dribble past the opponents.
“They were very slow in thinking and not confident enough to try and beat the opponent when they have the opportunity to attack,” he lamented.
Due to lack of self confident, the players choose to quickly release the ball instead of trying to dribble past their opponent and end up giving away the ball to the opponent whenever they reach the attacking half.
Farhan, however sang praise for central defender Sahran Samad and Hairul Moktar for superb performance although they were being intimidated by match official fishy calls.
“Whenever our players commit foul they would be warned, Boy (Hairol Mokhtar) was yellow carded (for rough play), Aidil Mohd was yellow carded, Dzulazlan Ibrahim was yellow carded twice but the referee
realising his mistake of not sending him off quickly told the fourth official he was booking Fareez Tukijo and we don’t have complaint for the yellow card against Zamri Morshidi because what he did was dangerous,” he said.
He admitted that Wong Sai Kong was lost in the middle, probably due to age factor and was unable to match the younger Kelantan players.
“Our playmaker too slow, and always being intercepted by the Kelantan midfield although he got the ball much earlier,” he said.
The game against Kelantan is a wakeup call for the players on what to expect in Super League.
“They managed to hold Kelantan at bay for 80 minutes but without full concentration and focus they were punished in the last 10 minutes of the play,” Farhan stressed.
Farhan said, they would be playing against KL Felda United on September 24 and is hoping the players would continue to give their best.
On the decision to make Shahrol Saperi as captain that night, Farhan said Zamri Morshidi requested somebody taking over the armband due to unbearable pressure.
“Fans do not understand the kind of pressure they are heaping on this young team, and Zamri appealed to the manager to name someone else as captain,” he said.
Zamri will not be able to play against KL Felda United after collecting his second yellow card on Sunday. He collected the first yellow card against Kelantan in Kuching.
Meanwhile, Kelantan manager Haji Azman Ibrahim said credit should be given to the young Sarawak team for putting up a gallant fight against The Red Warriors before conceding late goals.
“They managed to defend until 80th minutes though came under attack since the first whistle. If they continue to play like this, they would be able to spring some surprise against other team in the group,” he said.
With the 4-0 defeat of Sarawak, Kelantan is now second in group C standing with nine points while KL Felda United who drew with Johor FC stay at the top with 10 points. KL Felda United defeated Kelantan on Wednesday to put Kelantan in tricky situation.