Zainal relieved as Melaka move away from the drop

PETALING JAYA: Melaka can breathe easier after they punctured Terengganu’s hopes of closing the gap on Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim.

For coach Zainal Abidin Hassan, the 2-0 home win on Wednesday was something to savour as they have now moved away from the relegation zone.

He also hoped that this will be the impetus for them to improve on their standings.

Haitian international Sony Norde opened scoring in the 36th minute after a brilliant solo run and new Brazilian playmaker Adriano Narcizo scored the other when he curled in a shot from outside the penalty box in the 77th minute.

“We needed this win badly. This is a meaningful victory because not only we beat a top side but more importantly we got three points. But we can’t rest now as our battle is far from over,” said Zainal.

“Next game, it’s sixth placed Kuala Lumpur. It won’t be easy and the players must replicate the same commitment shown against Terengganu.

“Our new signings (strikers Adriano, Giovanne Gomez and midfielder Gary Robbat) are blending in well and I’m sure will get better with more matches.”

Meanwhile, his counterpart Nafuzi Zain said they will bounce back against Sabah on Sunday.

“You win some and you lose some… that’s football. Kudos to Melaka,” he said.

“That’s nothing wrong with our game, we played well but could not get it right in front of goal. We will assess our mistakes and do much better against Sabah.”

Melaka are now ninth with 15 points while Terengganu remained second with 30 points.