Rampant Pahang look to defence to set up Malaysia Cup semi vs. JDT
He scored a dazzling double in his team's last outing, but Pahang winger Christie Jayaseelan believes that defence will be more important than attack in the Malaysia Cup quarterfinals when the 2014 champions travel to Perak on Sunday.
Ahead of the second leg in Ipoh, the Elephants hold a 3-1 advantage after their first-leg success in Kuantan on Sept. 16.
Dollah Salleh's side have been in rampant form of late, winning their last five games and scoring 17 goals in the process.
Christie, who sparked the 3-0 Malaysia Super League win over Sarawak on Wednesday, says Pahang must refuse to let Perak score to ensure progression to the last four of the Cup.
"Offensively we are pretty solid unit, it's just that we need to try and keep a clean sheet to secure progression," Christie told ESPN FC.
"The job is only half complete, despite our first-leg win. We cannot go to Perak taking anything for granted because they can turn things around if we are not careful."
Christie's maiden season with Pahang has been restricted by a torn quadricep in his left leg.
But, despite making only four appearances this year, he has still managed to find the net three times.
"My only aim is to stay fit and get more game time under my belt. I think I should return to full fitness if I get another 90 minutes. We are at a crucial stage of the campaign and I want to help the team as much as possible," he said.
Despite a slow start to their Malaysia Cup campaign, Pahang have hit their straps at just the right time.
And Christie's goals against Sarawak bumped Pahang above Kedah in the MSL to second, which offers a spot to the AFC Cup.
Should they come back from Perak unscathed, a potentially intriguing two-legged semifinal clash against Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) awaits in what would be a replay of the 2014 final, won by Pahang on penalties.
Unlike previous years, JDT are showing great interest in the only domestic tournament that has eluded them since they were rebranded in 2012.
Ulisses Morais' side are almost guaranteed of a semifinals berth after they thrashed Melaka United 4-1 at Hang Jebat Stadium.
The other last eight ties will see Kedah hosting Selangor with a 3-2 advantage gained on the road at Selayang Stadium.
Nidzam Adzha's men will be confident of finishing the job at home to the Red Giants, who have seemed to have lost their way with two consecutive defeats.
Premier League surprise packages PKNP FC will also be confident of progression after they toppled Felda United 3-1 in the first leg, but could face a torrid time away from home at Jengka.
Malaysia Cup second-leg quarterfinals (Sunday)
PKNP FC vs. Felda United (3-1)
Kedah vs. Selangor (3-2)
Perak vs. Pahang (1-3)
JDT vs. Melaka United (4-1)
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.