Updated: May 16, 2019
K. Devan's plans to first hold JDT and then go on the attack in the second half almost worked for the newly reformed club against the reigning champs.
Going into the match against Johor Darul Ta'zim, PJ City FC were on their best run in the season, unbeaten in three matches but their good fortunes came to an abrupt end against arguably the league's best. However the 0-1 defeat highlighted just how closely fought a match it was and had luck been on their side, PJ City could have nicked another massive result on another day.
Syafiq Ahmad's goal in the first half proved to be the decider but PJ City had chances of their own to level the score, particularly in the second half. Had Mauricio not taken down Safee Sali cynically in the second period or had Farizal Marlias not reacted quickly to shut out Bae Beom-geun, PJ City might have been able to hold another title challenger to a draw after last week's draw to Pahang.
For PJ City's head coach K. Devan, the defeat was not unexpected but felt his team should have taken more from the game given how they were able to come to life in the second half against a far more superior opponent. The experienced trainer was however disappointed with the performance of Pedro Henrique who offered little on the night.
"JDT deserved to win the match because throughout the 90 minutes, they created plenty of chances. No doubt we defended very well. First half actually we had the strategy to hold them, that's why we were defending. I know we can get better in the second half and we played better. We created problems for them and had two chances to score.
"In terms of performance, I'm happy with the team but our attacking strength need to improve in order to fight in the Super League. We are getting better but when we get chances at home, we need to score. Safee was doing very well but the other foreign striker need to do better. To win matches, we need a strikeforece that scores goal and that is lacking," said Devan after the match.
Devan is currently attending the Pro Diploma course together with a whole host of coaches who were present at the MBPJ Stadium on Saturday. Part of the requirement of the course was to analyse matches and PJ City against JDT was one of the selected matches.
Hence on top of his own analysis of what happened in the game, Devan will be getting plenty of remarks and opinions from his peers who could help him to shape the team better in the future in PJ City's maiden voyage in the top tier of Malaysian football.
There's however very little time to work with the playes at the moment what with a difficult away FA Cup third round fixture awaits PJ City on Tuesday when they travel up to Darul Aman Stadium to face a resurgent Kedah.