Just as he credited the strength of the collective following the victorious battle against Viettel FC a fortnight back, captain Paulo Josue once again attributed the solidity the City Boys’ posses in the changing room as key to delivering their first ASEAN level success since 1989.
Starring with a brace in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Indonesia’s PSM Makassar in the AFC Cup 2022 ASEAN Zonal Final in Cheras, the 33-year old’s tank was near empty, running the middle of the park in a dominating display.
“I was tired during the game against Makassar, but my teammates stepped up and kept me going throughout the game.”, he said to Utusan Melayu, the New Straits Times, football portal Semuanya Bola and the AFC website after the game.
The Red & White squandered a 3 goal lead, allowing the Roosters of The East to comeback in the second half, narrowing the deficit to 3-2 within a five minute blitz with goals in the 58th & 63rd minute.
Continuing, the Brazilian told of his pride in leading this current set of players in the City Boys’ squad.
“Congratulations to the players, I’m very proud of my team. We played well in the first half, scoring two goals and limiting their attacking threat, especially their forwards.”
“We lost focus for a moment in the second half when (PSM) Makassar scored two goals in the space of 10 minutes which was a mad moment to me, but they showed more passion, character, perseverance and desire to make adjustments in the game. I told my teammates to keep pushing.”
“We did not lose hope and it paid off. We regained our 3 goal lead. We deserved the victory today”
Paulo Josue, who is into his sixth season with the side from nation’s capital, underlined the key factors for the win, which furthers Kuala Lumpur City’s journey in the AFC Cup 2022 to the Inter Zone Semi-Final where they are highly likely to meet the South Asian Zone winners ATK Mohun Bagan at their homeground in Kolkata, India.
“We are not a big team, but we fight in every game. We always look to make life tough for everyone. We are strong as a unit and is the key in our AFC Cup success so far”, he said.
On how far he believed his side could go in the AFC Cup, he said,
“We’re very satisfied with our performance (today). We’re happy to advance into the Inter-Zone Semi-Finals and we certainly have a fighting chance now to reach the final. We should try and take our chances to achieve this.”
Paulo Josue who has scored 4 goals in the AFC Cup, spurned the chance of a hattrick against the Indonesians, when he asked Hadin to take the City Boys second penalty awarded in the game late in injury time.
Speaking of his noble decision, he explained.
“I’ve been through a lot with this club. I’m doing well now because of my team.”
“The penalty would have ended the match and naturally our players would be at their highest confidence to take it.”
“Hadin wanted to dedicate a goal to his yet to be born child and I said to him, score this penalty for your baby.”
A fan favourite who usually lingers a little longer than the others at the trackside near the C1 curve, while obliging to many requests of autographs, photographs and what not, the skipper had a message for the #sampaimatikualalumpur faithful.
“Thank you to the fans who came to watch us play. I hope they keep coming to our games. These players work very hard to win matches and the fans deserve this and we’re happy that they showed up in numbers.”
To read the match report of KL City vs PSM Makassar on 24/8/2022 (AFC Cup), please click COMING SOON
To watch the highlights of KL City vs PSM Makassar on 24/8/2022 (AFC Cup), please click https://youtu.be/UqYV452zEQQ
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