Terengganu have themselves to blame for missing out on the chance to top the Super League standings after they could only manage a disappointing 1-1 draw against struggling PKNS FC in Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday.
The Turtles had a good chance to go top after leaders Kelantan dropped points when Sabah held them to a goalless draw in Kota Kinabalu.
The slip-ups by Terengganu and Kelantan allowed Perak to leap frogged to the summit on 15 points. Kelantan dropped a rung to second spot on 14 points while Terengganu with a point fewer are third.
Coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said the team had no one to blame but themselves.
“We employed the wrong strategy by placing certain players in the wrong position. We were in control of the match until I substituted Joseph Kalang Tie in the second half,” he said adding that the Sarawakian winger along with Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin were the team’s midfield engine.
During the 1-1 stalemate at the Sultan Ismail Stadium, on-form striker Francis Doe broke the deadlock in the 38th minute by calmly collecting Joseph’s cross to slot the ball home. However, PKNS draw level through a Rudie Ramli’s glancing header from a cross in the 46th minute.
The Turtles were more superior but strikers Doe, Abdul Manaf Mamat and Abdul Hadi Yahya failed to convert the chances to earn the team a win over their Klang Valley opponent.
Mat Zan had hoped that a win over PKNS would bolster their confidence ahead of Saturday’s East Coast Derby against Kelantan but it was not to be.
“I will make a major reshuffle for the match against Kelantan. We have to rethink our strategy as the tie against the Red Warriors will be tricky and above all, emotional,” he said.
Meanwhile PKNS assistant coach Anuar Abu Bakar was not perturbed with his team’s growing reputation as the draw experts, having drawn five of their six matches played.
“It is a big coup to escape with a point against a strong team like Terengganu. It is a positive for the players but I really felt we could have won as the players were playing their hearts out,” he said.