Terengganu warmed up for their AFC Cup debut tomorrow with a gritty 1-0 win over Kuala Lumpur in the Super League as coach Mat Zan Mat Aris expressed relief his tired players came through unscathed.
Four Terengganu players involved in Malaysia's 1-1 friendly draw with Philippines last Wednesday only arrived on Friday and joined up with the team in Malacca on the day of the match, disrupting Mat Zan's preparations.
Muslim Ahmad, Ashaari Samsudin, Manaf Mamat and Zubir Azmi went straight into the starting line-up but Liberian striker Francis Doe made up for a disjointed display by scoring an opportunistic goal as Terengganu spurned several other chances which would have made for a more flattering scoreline.
"If we look at today's (Saturday) match, it was not our best performance. I was unhappy with the way the defence, midfield and the strikers played. Four players were away with the national team and only joined us today. So there was a lack of understanding between some of the players," said Mat Zan after the game at the Hang Jebat Stadium as Terengganu moved up to second in the standings.
Terengganu leave for Vinh, Vietnam today to take on V-League champions Song Lam Nghe An before returning home for an FA Cup second round tie against Perak on Saturday in a busy week for Mat Zan's boys.
"I hope our performances will pick up in the next game. Fatigue will be an issue because after Vietnam we return to play Perak in the FA Cup. This is going to be a tough week when we play three games in eight days and doing a lot of travelling," added Mat Zan, a KL legend now in his second stint with Terengganu.
KL could have made life difficult for Terengganu had they been sharper in front of goal with Lebanon forward Zakaria Charara missing a gilt-edged chance early in the second half when he volleyed wide with just goalkeeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli to beat.
"I'm disappointed with the result but not with the performance. I felt we deserved something but we only have ourselves to blame. A simple mistake allowed them to score.
"We had two or three chances ourselves but failed to convert," said KL coach Razip Ismail, whose team are anchored firmly at the foot of the table with just one point from nine matches and relegation now almost a near certainty.