Posts Tagged ‘Pahang’

PBDKT T-Team v Pahang, Saturday 22nd October 2016, 9pm

November 16, 2016

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It was the final round of the Super League season and up until a couple of days beforehand the fixture between T-Team and Pahang had been one of those that would play a part in deciding the relegation places. However, in the run up to the game, the Malaysian FA belatedly awarded Pahang three points for something that had happened earlier in the season and that left both sides safe from the drop.

Jen and I arrived in Terengganu early on the Saturday morning, courtesy of fifty minute and twenty quid Air Asia flights from KL. We were greeted at our hotel by the sight of the Pahang team playing keepy-uppy at the entrance.

Terengganu itself didn’t seem like much of a tourist destination. There looked to be a few options for stuff to do in the surrounding areas but there wasn’t a lot going on in the town itself.

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We were staying next to Chinatown. As an attraction it had some scathing Tripadvisor reviews, probably because it wasn’t limited just to restaurants. If that’s what people were expecting then I dare say the shops selling angle grinders were somewhat of a disappointment.

The butcher’s was of greater interest however, with a fine selection of pig tails on display.

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We managed to resist the urge to stock up on power tools or porcine parts whilst in Chinatown and settled instead for a pre-match dinner. We sat outside the restaurant until our meal was interrupted by ten minutes of loud-speaker announcements in Malaysian which we were soon to find out were warning of the impending industrial-strength chemical bug spraying.

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Despite having all day to get to the ground we arrived at the Stadium Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah with just a few minutes to go to kick-off. We splashed out on twenty ringgit tickets for the main stand and went in just as the national anthem was being played. As usual, it was quickly followed by the state anthem.

Less usually, the teams then remained in their lined-up positions whilst the away fans sang what I assume was their own state anthem. Or maybe, after reflecting on their team’s performance over the season, it was something along the lines of “You’re shit and you know you are”.

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The stadium was a bit on the shabby side and whilst it didn’t have a running track there was enough space between the stands and the pitch to fit one in.

Our grandstand seats had the advantage of a roof, but the disadvantage of having a raised and fenced VIP section that obscured our view of a lot of the nearside touchline.  We were sat behind the Pahang wags, one of whom I presume was with the Pahang captain as she was wearing a shirt with his surname on the back. Although to be fair, it may very well have been her own name too.

Mind you, it would have been so much better if she’d actually been wearing a shirt with the name of her favourite player rather than that of her partner.

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Not much happened in the opening half hour or so, with the highlight being a cat wandering in from outside and then running along the front of our stand in a panic whilst trying to escape.

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Soon after the cat had departed the visitors took the lead with a curling shot from the right into the left corner of the net. Pahang desperately held onto their lead until close to full-time and at which point one of the T-Team players skinned their full back and whacked an equaliser into the roof of the net.

Whilst the result of this game was of no consequence, similar late goals elsewhere resulted in the season coming to an end with the other Terengganu team and the Police slipping into the second-tier Premier division. It all starts afresh in February.

Pahang v Penang, Saturday 24th September 2016, 9pm

November 12, 2016

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Jen and I drove the four hours or so to Kuantan for this game in our recently acquired nine-year old Proton Gen 2 car. It seemed increasingly less of a bargain with each time that we had to stop and prevent it over-heating by adding a litre or more of water.

Our hotel overlooked the Darulmakmur stadium and if we’d wanted to we could have watched the game from our room.  However, with the ground just a ten minute walk away, I thought we’d have a better view from inside.

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At the ticket office we had a choice of tickets at 12, 15 and 25 ringgits. I assumed that the cheapest were concessions, the middle band terracing and the top priced tickets were for the grandstands.

I was wrong. The middle option that I’d chosen on the basis of it being terracing turned out to be upper tier of the grandstand. It was a mistake that worked out well though in that the seats towards the front of the upper tier probably provided the best view in the ground.

This was another game that would go a long way in determining the relegation slots from the Super League. If Penang lost they were down, if Pahang won they would stay up. Or maybe it was the other way around. I dunno, it would have been easier if they hadn’t had such similar names. A draw suited neither really. Surprisingly, for a meaningful game the crowd seemed quite small.

There were a hundred and twenty or so visiting fans on the far side, with a banner encouraging ‘Lobo’ to stay. I’d no idea at the time who Lobo was. Or if the banner was even football related. It could just have easily been something to do with the training of dogs.

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Penang were in white with two light blue stripes whilst Pahang were in yellow.

The visitors played in a similar way to the previous week, generally starting from the back via the big fella at centre-half. I looked him up later and it turned out that he was the Lobo that the fans were keen to see stay. He didn’t have much in the way of ball-control and often needed the extra space and time that hanging ten yards behind the play gave him. He could boot it a long way though and you knew that if he were a Sunday league player he’d be taking the goal kicks and launching them almost to the opponents penalty area.

When the option was there for a short pass, Lobo would play it to the Korean in defensive midfield who was putting in what’s often described a workman-like shift. The usual plan for the Korean was then to find the Argentinian bloke ahead of him who would try to play in the Nigerian striker.

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Despite its simplicity, or perhaps because of it, Pahang had little trouble foiling the plan and they went into half-time a goal up after Penang failed to clear a corner and the ball was whacked home from four yards out.

There was a choice of refreshments at the interval. I declined the luminous green drink and instead plumped for the King Cola at 2 ringgits a cup. It was a lot sweeter than my usual choice of diet coke and were I an expert on these matters I’d probably say that the complex light floral notes were finely balanced with lingering hints of Jeyes fluid.

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We moved to the end of our stand for the second half as it was less busy and gave us a view of the rest of the stand from the curve. As I could see down to the lower tier, I’d say that there were probably 1,500 home fans in the 32,500 capacity ground.

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Penang varied their approach a little in the second half by moving the Korean further forward at the expense of the Argentinian fella. It didn’t make much difference though and their job was made harder when one of the visiting players was sent off for lashing out in what seemed an obvious case of frustration at the scoreline.

Pahang hung on to their lead and took the three points. It wasn’t a result that finally resolved anything though and with one game of the season remaining there were still five teams in danger of the drop.