HEATED BAT­TLE ON AND OFF THE PITCH

Me­laka coach ac­cuses JDT coach of be­ing dis­re­spect­ful

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

ME­LAKA coach Eric Wil­liams has ac­cused his Darul Ta’zim coun­ter­part, Ben­jamin Mora of be­ing dis­re­spect­ful af­ter the heated 1-1 draw in a Su­per League match at Hang Je­bat Sta­dium on Satur­day.

Darul Ta’zim thought an­other win was in the bag when Safiq Rahim drove in his free kick in the 59th minute.

But Me­laka frus­trated Darul Ta’zim with an equaliser through South Korea Jeon Woo Young in the 88th minute for their third straight draw in the league.

Over­all, Darul Ta’zim play­ers showed poor dis­ci­pline in the match but man­aged to es­cape the red card on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

The match turned heated in the open­ing min­utes of the sec­ond half when Darul Ta’zim’s Gabriel Guerra ap­peared to have kicked cap­tain G. Puaneswaran on his face when the Malacca cap­tain was on the ground.

In stop­page time, Me­laka re­sorted to play­ing the ball to the cor­ners to buy time be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle and this frus­trated the vis­i­tors.

There were also sev­eral mi­nor al­ter­ca­tions but ref­eree Suhaim­i­mat Hassan man­aged to con­trol the sit­u­a­tion.

The draw was a huge blow to Darul Ta’zim as they had ex­pected an­other rou­tine win af­ter thrash­ing Me­laka 7-0 in the first round at Larkin Sta­dium on April 9.

English­man Wil­liams was un­happy with the be­hav­iour of Mora and both had an ugly ex­change of words af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

“I made a re­mark to Mora that when his team had thrashed Me­laka 7-0, he did not have the time to shake my hand… and to­day, he shook my hand like he wanted to fight me,” said Wil­liams on Satur­day.

“He then re­sponded that next time his team will beat Me­laka 70 again. I told him that if he is a good coach then come and train my team, and let’s see how good you are.

“A coach’s job is not about train­ing play­ers. One needs to mo­ti­vate his boys every week es­pe­cially af­ter a heavy de­feat.

“Those were my part­ing words to Mora who must start show­ing hu­mil­ity. He is young and got to learn. Mora has the best play­ers in Malaysia, he should be win­ning every week.”

Wil­liams added: “The match went a lit­tle bit way­ward to­wards the end… I think Darul Ta’zim were not happy when we equalised.

“There comes a time a team need to be hum­ble and ac­cept that fact that some­times you can­not win every game. I am very dis­ap­pointed with their re­ac­tion af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.”

Wil­liams hopes the draw will help his team re­gain con­fi­dence for up­com­ing matches. For the record, Me­laka have not won a game since Fe­bru­ary.

“I am very proud of my boys… they showed char­ac­ter and sta­bil­ity. They dug deep and were de­ter­mined to­day.

Mora said three points should have been in his team’s pocket on Satur­day.

“Me­laka pun­ished us for a lapse of con­cen­tra­tion in the clos­ing stages. We still, how­ever, got a point and also man­aged to ex­tend our lead in the league to six points as Pa­hang lost to Ke­lan­tan.

“We need to work harder and fix our mis­takes. We hold ad­van­tage in the league and we will not sit back and al­low oth­ers to catch up,” added Mora.

PIC BY RA­SUL AZLI SA­MAD

Darul Ta’zim skip­per Safiq Rahim (sec­ond from left) is shown the yel­low card by the ref­eree in a Su­per League match against Me­laka at Hang Je­bat Sta­dium on Satur­day.

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