Melaka suffer big loss to Persib but Zainal stays cool

Melaka coach Zainal Abidin Hassan is unfazed despite his men’s 1-3 loss to Persib Bandung in their pre-season outing in Indonesia.

The Mousedeers had edged Bandung United 3-2 on Jan 30 but the Indonesian giant Persib turned out to be tougher opponents to beat at the Jalak Harupat Stadium on Saturday

South Korean Jang Suk-won (pic) scored the consolation for Melaka in the 63rd minute after Persib dominated the match with goals from Geoffrey Castillion (32nd and 53rd minute) and Ghozali Siregar (90th+2nd minute).

The loss was Melaka’s first this year as they had earlier kicked-off their pre-season with a 2-0 win over UKM (Jan 18) and 5-0 win over Negri Sembilan (Jan 23).

Zainal said Melaka were weakened for the match as skipper Safiq Rahim and defender Curran Singh Ferns were injured while their striker Uche Agba did not travel to Indonesia due to visa issues.

“We didn’t get our full squad to play here. Safiq is coming back from an injury while Curran picked up a hamstring injury. Agba didn’t join us for this trip,” said Zainal.

“Our players were unsettled in the first 20 minutes as they were affected by the crowd at the stadium.

“It was just a friendly but there were 10,000 fans, it’s just amazing … it’s a good experience for the team.”

“I will be glad if I can get one or two more quality matches like this before our pre-season ends.

“We managed to test our players and the combination of play.”

Melaka will wrap their tour of Indonesia by taking on PSKC Cimahi at the Jalak Harupat Stadium today.

“We are not perfect yet and there’s still time for us to correct ourselves and be ready before the season starts,” said the 57-year-old.

Melaka will begin the Super League campaign against newly-promoted side UiTM at the UiTM Stadium in Shah Alam on Feb 29.

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