Elavarasan stays calm

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DE­SPITE sit­ting just a point above the Su­per League rel­e­ga­tion zone, PKNS coach E. Elavarasan is far from con­cerned over his team’s pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion.

A dra­matic 4-4 draw with Kedah at the Shah Alam Sta­dium on Tues­day, when both sides were awarded stop­page-time penal­ties, saw PKNS move up to ninth place and within six points of fourth­placed Se­lan­gor.

It is this gap which gives Elavarasan en­cour­age­ment that PKNS can make strides in the sec­ond round of the Su­per League and pull away from the drop zone.

“I’m never wor­ried about rel­e­ga­tion or that we are near the rel­e­ga­tion zone be­cause I am con­fi­dent we can do bet­ter and move up the table,” Elavarasan said yes­ter­day.

“There are a lot of teams around us and the gap to Se­lan­gor is only six points. No­body is safe yet. We have been strug­gling in cer­tain ar­eas, es­pe­cially de­fen­sively, but in other ar­eas the play­ers have done well.

“All that is needed is a lit­tle tweaking and we will able to do bet­ter than be­fore.”

In Tues­day’s game, resched­uled to ac­com­mo­date the Sul­tan of Se­lan­gor’s Cup last Satur­day in which PKNS rep­re­sented the state, PKNS scored two late goals, ei­ther side of a penalty for Kedah, to snatch a point.

Kedah led 3-1 at the break as Syafiq Ah­mad scored twice af­ter Ken Ilso’s fifth­minute opener was can­celled by a bril­liant in­di­vid­ual ef­fort by Pa­trick Wleh.

Ma­tias Jadue re­duced the deficit for PKNS on the hour be­fore Lu­cas Espin­dola equalised in the 89th minute only for Kedah to be awarded a penalty which San­dro Men­donca con­verted for 4-3.

With the points seem­ingly in the bag, Kedah let their guard down and were pun­ished when PKNS earned a penalty for hand­ball which Jadue con­verted for the draw.

“I think a 4-4 draw was a bit of a waste since Kedah were not at full-strength but the most im­por­tant thing was not to lose,” added Elavarasan, with PKNS ex­tend­ing their win­less run in the league to eight matches.

Kedah coach Nidzam Adzha Yu­soff’s side missed an op­por­tu­nity to cut into Su­per League lead­ers Darul Ta’zim’s six­point lead and re­main in third place on 21 points, be­hind Pa­hang on goal dif­fer­ence.

Sarawak re­main stuck in the rel­e­ga­tion zone, one point from safety, af­ter a 1-1 draw with Se­lan­gor in Kuch­ing where the vis­i­tors equalised a minute be­fore half­time through de­fender Rizal Fahmi Rosid af­ter Ma­teo Roskam had put Sarawak ahead in the 33rd minute.

“These are the play­ers who were avail­able and I thought they de­served a chance to play,” said Se­lan­gor coach P. Ma­niam of rare starters Afiq Azmi and Fitri Shazwan Raduwan, filling in for the ab­sent Fran­cis Doe and S. Veenod.

“Be­cause they had not played for a while, their match fit­ness was not what we wanted. But I think they did their best.”

PIC BY OS­MAN AD­NAN

PKNS’ Ma­tias Hadwa (right) cel­e­brates his goal against Kedah in a Su­per League match at the Shah Alam Sta­dium on Tues­day.

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