KUALA LUMPUR: Perak coach Abdul Sukur Adam was all stressed out when his team failed to show up until after half-time to beat Perlis 2-0 in the Boys' National Under-16 tournament at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Perak, the defending champions, did everything right except scored until the 39th minute, when Farhan Haziq Rahimi pounced on a rebound, while Amirul Haniff Mamat made sure with a 57th minute goal.
"It was a really stressful match for me as my boys played below what they are capable off. I believe they will improve after today (yesterday) and there is no need to push the panic button," said Abdul Sukor.
Playing in Group A, the defending champions next meet Negri Sembilan today (Sunday).
"That fact that we only had 10 minutes to warm up because of rain, as well as a heavy pitch to make penalty corners more difficult also added to our 'misery' until Farhan scored.
"But with the first match jitters over, I believe Perak has a team which can mount a serious challenge to defend our title. The target is still to win our fifth Under-16 crown," said Abdul Sukur.
BOYS' RESULTS: Group A: Perak 2 Perlis 0, Negri Sembilan 0 Johor 1.
Group B: Terengganu 0 Penang 2, Malacca 2 Selangor 1.
Group C: Pahang 3 Kuala Lumpur 2, Sabah x Kelantan x.
FIXTURES -- Sunday: Group A: Sarawak v Johor (7.15pm, Pitch I), Perak v Negri Sembilan (7.30pm, Pitch II).
Group B: Terengganu v Malacca (4.45pm, Pitch II).
Group C: Kelantan v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, Pitch I), Pahang v Sabah 6pm, Pitch II).