BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor perhaps rode their luck in their 1-0 Malaysia Cup Group D win over Melaka United on Thursday, but head coach B. Satiananthan saw only improvements from his side.
Melaka United centre back Jang Suk-won could do little to avoid knocking a rebound into his own net in the 61st minute, and although the goal would end up as the only goal of the match that was held at the Hang Jebat Stadium, it was not for the lack of trying on the hosts' part.
In the final 15 minutes of the match, the Mousedeers pushed aggressively for the equaliser, with the visitors themselves unable to hold on to the ball for long outside of their danger area, but were ultimately denied by a combination of fortuitous defending and goalkeeping, and their own failure to hit the target.
While some might say the victory, as well as the clean sheet, only their fourth this season, was undeserved, Satiananthan said after the match that it happened because of their improved defending and mental strength.
"I have to thank my players for not conceding tonight despite the intense pressure they were under in the last 15 minutes.
"It's down to their mental strength. Despite giving away numerous free kicks and corner kicks, situations where Melaka are dangerous from, they deserve the credit for denying Melaka's obvious scoring chances through clearances and tackles.
"What usually happens is a kind of a 'mental block'; when we lead the players can't believe that they're in front. That's why 60 per cent of the goals we conceded have come from set-piece situations and counter attacks, from our own mistakes. We've had difficulties trying to rectify this, but we have to because the Malaysia Cup has a knockout stage, where we need to be careful.
"I'm pleased with the win, with the performance; several players who had not been at their best against Felda United (2-2 home draw last Saturday) bounced back today," explained the former Felda United boss.
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