T-Team coach Yunus Alif is glad that his club side never know when they are beaten after fighting back twice for a 3-2 win over Pahang at the Sultan Ismail Stadium to earn a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
“I am very proud of my players … they showed strength of character although we were hardly in the game,” Yunus said yesterday.
“I have always reminded the players to dig in deep and never give up … tonight (Friday) they showed me their will to win and courage to do the impossible.”
Mohd Faiz Subri was the hero for the home side when he grabbed the stoppage-time winner in the 94th minute.
All the goals came in the second-half of a hotly contested match, which saw five players being booked and Pahang having a goal ruled out for offside midway through the second half.
Pahang’s Hazuan Daud opened the scoring in the 49th minute before T-Team drew level through Azrul Hazran six minutes later. Pahang went ahead again in the 58th minute when Mohd Azamuddin Akil scored a wonder goal from a corner kick.
However, T-Team’s Mohd Fadzli Saari more than matched it when he scored with a spectacular bicycle kick to tie the game in the 62nd minute.
“What a goal it was by Fadzli … the bicycle kick was simple magnificent,” enthused Yunus.
With the game poised to go into extra-time, Faiz became Pahang’s public enemy number one when he scored with a glancing header in the 94th minute.
“I reserve special praise for Fadzli and Faiz … they were both wonderful. Their performance spurred their team-mates on,” said Yunus, who was far from impressed with the displays of skipper Zairo Anuar Zailani and goalkeeper Mohd Syamsuri Mustafa.
“Zairo was ineffective but I am sure it will not be long before he finds his form.
“As for Syamsuri … I told him to watch out for the high balls since it was windy.
“His mistake led to Pahang’s second goal.”
Meanwhile, Pahang coach and former national player Dollah Salleh conceded that they lost to a better team.
However, he questioned the standard of refereeing.
Dollah said that the disallowed goal denied his team from taking what would have been a comfortable 3-1 lead.
“The linesman was at fault as our player was not offside. It would have been a different game if that goal had been allowed,” he said.
Yunus, however, is proud of his men’s performance, saying they nearly prodouced an upset.
He feels that their display was a good stepping stone towards better performances in the Premier League.