Coach Bojan Hodak declared that KL City are back on track after a tumultuous start to the Super League as they claimed their first win by beating Melaka 2-0 at the KLFA Stadium on Saturday.
Paulo Josue’s clinical finishing was the difference as the KL captain struck twice in the first half to move past Saidin Osman into fifth spot in the club’s all-time goalscoring charts with 41 goals.
After a galling 3-0 defeat to league champions Johor Darul Ta’zim last time out, KL were back to nearly full strength with Romel Morales making his first start of the season.
Josue smashed in a loose ball in the penalty area in the third minute before finishing a free-flowing team move involving Declan Lambert, Ryan Lambert and J. Partiban in the 29th minute.
Morales looked a little off the pace as he squandered three gilt-edged chances to add to the score, but Hodak said the Colombian is not far from being back to his best after scoring 15 goals last season.
“The three points are the most important, and we didn’t concede a goal because this is what happened in the first three games,” said Hodak after their first win against Melaka in Cheras in 13 years.
“We played quite well, and Melaka didn’t really have a chance.
“Attacking-wise, we created chances, Romel had a few, but he’s not ready yet. Most important for a striker is to have chances and the goals will come.
“He could have scored three, four goals today, but you can see that he was always somehow a half-step behind, and this is normal for a player who had not played for some time.”
With troubled Melaka missing foreign players Ifedayo Omosuyi, Adriano Narcizo and Emmanuel Oti after not receiving salaries for three months, the visitors never looked like scoring, with KL goalkeeper Kevin Mendoza only rarely called into action.
This allowed KL to ease off in the second half which Hodak put down to the exertions with 10 men against JDT three days earlier.
Melaka coach Risto Vidakovic distanced himself when asked about the salary problems at his club during the press conference.
“I do not want to touch on it. It is up to the management to address the problem. Our poor form is not all about salary. We were affected by Covid-19, and some players had reported late to pre-season training,” he said.