By FARIK ZOLKEPLI (The Star) – KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu coach Mat Zan Mat Aris has thrown down the gauntlet, saying the Super League crown is still within reach.
With 12 matches to go, Mat Zan insists the Turtles have a realistic chance of lifting the title for the first time despite trailing leaders Lions XII by 11 points.
Terengganu were somewhat fortunate to escape with a 1-1 draw against Negri Sembilan at Paroi on Tuesday.
Negri’s talismanic striker Jean-Emmanuel Owona was both the hero and villain for the Deer.
Owona rescued Negri from defeat with a 22nd minute equaliser after Liberian striker Francis Doe converted a penalty in the fourth minute to put the Turtles in front.
Cameroonian Owona, however, squandered a spot-kick in the 86th minute.
The result kept the Turtles in third place, 11 points behind Lions XII and six adrift of archrivals Kelantan. Both east coast teams have three matches in hand over the Singapore side.
“There are still 36 points to play for. We just have to stay focused and collect as many points as possible to stay in the chase,” he said.
With the Turtles contesting in multiple competitions — the league, FA Cup and AFC Cup — Mat Zan said his players should be proud of being third and in contention for the title.
“The league has reached a crucial stage. This is the best time for us to recover and close the gap on Lions XII and Kelantan,” he said.
Against Negri, Mat Zan conceded his team were lucky to get a point.
“Negri should have won but their foreign player skied the spot-kick. But credit should be given to our players who really worked hard,” he said.
- Kelantan top Super League after beating bitter rivals Terengganu
- Turtles face tough fight in defending their FA Cup title
- Terengganu open AFC Cup campaign on winning note
- Terengganu down Sabah in nine-goal thriller
- Terengganu sides looking for Cup cheer