The Turtles head into tomorrow’s FA Cup second round home clash against Perak on a high following their 1-0 win over Vietnam’s Song Lam Nghe An in the Group F opener of the AFC Cup in Hanoi on Tuesday.
Abdul Manaf Mamat scored the winning goal in the 51st minute. He did well to pick up Mohd Ashaari Shamsudin’s through pass before dribbling past two Song Lam defenders and scoring.
Coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said the win had lifted the players’ morale and he hoped it would inspire the Turtles to go on a winning run in domestic matches, beginning with the FA Cup clash against Perak.
“My men played with great discipline and were rewarded with the valuable win. They played their hearts out on the field and stuck to the game plan,” he said.
He also said that the win is the perfect tonic for the team to do well in their coming Super League and FA Cup matches.
“Our only worry is their fitness given the hectic schedule of the past week,” he said. “The game on Saturday will mean that the players will have played three matches in eight days. I will assess their fitness before deciding the starting line-up.”
Mat Zan said skipper Marzuki Yusof did not play against Song Lam because of an injury and “we will monitor his progress”.
The coach is also confident that Abdul Manaf will get more goals after scoring the winner on Tuesday.
“A striker needs to score before they can go on a fine run of form. I feel Abdul Manaf is close to realising his top form … it won’t be long before he finds the net regularly,” he said.