Dol­lah wants FA Cup glory

New Straits Times - - Sport -

DOL­LAH Salleh views the FA Cup as Pa­hang’s best route back to the AFC Cup as they pre­pare to face Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan in the semi-fi­nals re­turn leg at Paroi to­mor­row.

Pa­hang last fea­tured in Asia’s sec­ond-tier com­pe­ti­tion in 2015 when they reached the quar­ter­fi­nals, hav­ing waited eight years since their pre­vi­ous ap­pear­ance in 2007.

Dol­lah has no in­ten­tion on wait­ing that long again and is tak­ing the FA Cup with such se­ri­ous­ness that he will line up his best side to face Ne­gri de­spite also be­ing in con­tention for the Su­per League ti­tle.

“To qual­ify for the AFC Cup is one of our goals but to do so, we have to beat Ne­gri first and then win the fi­nal,” Pa­hang coach Dol­lah told As­tro Arena’s For­masi pro­gramme.

“Over the last two or three days, I have seen the play­ers train with even more de­ter­mi­na­tion to not just make the start­ing XI but also to get into the match-day squad.”

Pa­hang be­gin the sec­ond leg against Premier League lead­ers Ne­gri with a 1-0 ad­van­tage thanks to an own goal by An­nas Rah­mat hav­ing dom­i­nated the first leg in Kuan­tan on April 30.

Dol­lah will also have Gam­bian for­ward Mo­hamadou Su­mareh avail­able af­ter miss­ing the first leg through sus­pen­sion as they also look to put be­hind them a 3-2 de­feat to Ke­lan­tan in a Su­per League match last Satur­day.

“The de­feat to Ke­lan­tan hurt a lot but the play­ers are ready to go all out against Ne­gri,” vowed Dol­lah.

“We are go­ing to Paroi not to de­fend our 1-0 lead.

“We will play our nor­mal at­tack­ing game be­cause we know that Ne­gri also have to at­tack since they need to score.

“We have our own tac­ti­cal and for­ma­tion plans to con­tain Ne­gri and what­ever they do.”

Pa­hang won the FA Cup for a sec­ond time in 2014, a year af­ter Dol­lah left the team to coach Po­lice.

But nei­ther Pa­hang nor Ne­gri have been in the best of form lately with the first leg in Kuan­tan be­ing Pa­hang’s only win in their last five matches while Ne­gri are win­less in the same span, in­clud­ing four suc­ces­sive draws in the Premier League.

The win­ner of this semi-fi­nal will face ei­ther Kedah or Tereng­ganu, who meet in the sec­ond leg in Kuala Tereng­ganu with the for­mer lead­ing 1-0, in the May 20 fi­nal in Shah Alam.

PIC BY MOHD RAFI MAMAT

Pa­hang’s Gam­bian for­ward Mo­hamadou Su­mareh (back) will be avail­able for their FA Cup semi-fi­nal match against Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan to­mor­row.

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