Pahang 0 South China 1: Tok Gajah stumble at home
The upcoming international break couldn’t have come any sooner for Zainal Abidin Hassan, who will want reassess things and give his players a chance to recuperate following the home defeat.
Pahang, who previously drew 0-0 with Filipino side Global in their last AFC Cup match at the Darul Makmur Stadium, almost had the lead early in the game when Azidan Sarudin’s free-kick hit rattled the post in the 8th minute.
A few minutes later, as South China striker Chan Siu Ki fired a left footer past an outstretched Khairul Azhan Khalid from the edge of the box.
Without foreign strikers Matias Conti and Dickson Nwakaeme, star winger R. Gopinathan tried his best to help his team engineer a comeback, but he was often left to do things by himself.
R. Surendran had a golden chance to equalise for Pahang in the 38th minute after Gopinathan appeared to have a goal on a plate for him, but he somehow steered his effort wide of the post.
The wasted effort proved to be the closest they came to scoring, as the Hong Kong side shut up shop in the second half and held on for a 1-0 win.
The win allowed South China to widen their lead at the top to five points ahead of second-placed Pahang.
Both teams will face each other again in their next AFC Cup match in Hong Kong on April 15th.