Insa’s ag­gres­sion wor­ries coach

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PA­HANG coach Dol­lah Salleh was left won­der­ing at what might have been had Kiko Insa kept his wits about him dur­ing Satur­day’s FA Cup fi­nal which Kedah won 32 at the Shah Alam Sta­dium.

Insa, the Spain-born nat­u­ralised mid­fielder, was booked twice in seven min­utes to leave Pa­hang bat­tling for an hour with 10 men de­spite hav­ing been told to rein in his ag­gres­sive na­ture.

To Pa­hang’s credit, they gave it a good go de­spite trail­ing and did not al­low Kedah a mo­ment of peace and very nearly forced the match into ex­tra-time only to be foiled by some des­per­ate de­fend­ing by Kedah.

Dol­lah said his team’s per­for­mance, es­pe­cially in the sec­ond half when Pa­hang dom­i­nated de­spite play­ing with a man short, gave him hope of chal­leng­ing Darul Ta’zim for the Su­per League ti­tle.

“Even with 10 men we never gave up and as a coach I’m very proud of the way we played in the sec­ond half,” said Dol­lah.

“The play­ers did their best but the re­sult was not on our side.

“It didn’t look like we were play­ing with 10 men. I told the play­ers to keep their dis­ci­pline and we at­tack to­gether as well as de­fend to­gether.

“The sec­ond half per­for­mance is what our real game is like. We did that at the start of the sea­son but then we lost a bit of our rhythm as the fix­tures piled up.

“But I think if we can re­gain that mo­men­tum then we can catch up with the Su­per League lead­ers even though we are six points be­hind.”

As for Insa, Dol­lah does not re­gret his de­ci­sion to start with him in place of Nor Azam Azih as he wanted him to nul­lify the threat of Kedah mid­fileder Liri­don Kras­niqi.

“I don’t re­gret any­thing be­cause I am proud of the way we fought back,” said Dol­lah.

“I told Insa from the start, even in train­ing, that when you com­mit a foul you have to show con­tri­tion.

“I re­minded him many times but he’s an ag­gres­sive char­ac­ter and it still hap­pens. I hope this will be a les­son to him.”

Dol­lah was also happy with the per­for­mance of new sign­ing Yamil Romero, who showed great in­di­vid­ual skill to skip past three play­ers late in the first half be­fore lay­ing the ball off for Matheus Alves to drill in a shot which was de­flected wide.

“Romero strug­gled a bit dur­ing part of the match be­cause his match fit­ness needs to im­prove,” said Dol­lah, who signed the Ar­gen­tine two weeks ago to re­place Nige­rian for­ward Chinedu Bright Dike. “But he was su­perb in the sec­ond half and I think he can be one of our best play­ers.”

Dol­lah now has the tough task of rous­ing his play­ers for Wed­nes­day’s Su­per League meet­ing with Se­lan­gor in Se­layang where they will at­tempt to keep pace with Darul Ta’zim in the ti­tle race. Devinder Singh

Pa­hang’s Kiko Insa was booked twice which earned him a red card in the FA Cup fi­nal against Kedah on Satur­day.

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