- By K. RAJAN -
PETALING JAYA: Selangor coach Irfan Bakti was not a happy man after seeing his side throw away the lead thrice to end up with a 3-3 draw against Tampines Rovers in the AFC Cup Group H match at the Shah Alam Stadium on Wednesday.
The Red Giants’ goals were scored by Francis Doe (8th and 53rd penalty) and Mohd Amri Yahyah (46th). Tampines replied through Aleksandar Duric (19th), Imran Sahib (48th) and Yamashita Kunihiro (71st).
Irfan blasted his players for allowing Tampines to fight back and snatch a draw in a match that they should have won.
“It was primarily a lapse of concentration. Everyone was ball-watching when we conceded the last two goals,” rued Irfan after the match.
“I can’t say we struggled but I could not field some of the players — S. Kunalan, Norazlan Razali and Adib Aizuddin Abdul Latif — due to their lack of fitness. I didn’t want to take any risks.
“Some of the players who played were not up to mark. But I am confident we can get past the group stages of this tournament.”
The 3-3 result puts the Klang Valley giants at the bottom of the table although they are level on points with Tampines who have a better goal difference.
The other teams in Group H – King Fisher East Bengal and Saigon Xuan Thanh played to a goalless draw. The Vietnamese side top the group, having scored more goals than East Bengal.
Tampines coach Nenad Bacina praised his side fighting spirit and said the chance is still open to qualify for the next round.
“I am happy with the result and am pleased with my players’ attitude. I cannot be greedy and want three points,” he said.
“I think both teams played a good and open game. We could have grabbed a late winner but we lacked finishing. It is still an open group and with four matches to go, anyone could finish in the top two. It will be interesting.”
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