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