Zainal to trial new imports as rock-bottom Penang seek MSL answers

Penang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan will be testing out new import players for the remainder of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) season in a desperate bid to avoid relegation.

The islanders slumped to their ninth league loss of 2017 in a 2-1 defeat to Felda United on Sunday night.

"Next week, we will be trialing few import players from Africa, South America and Australia," Zainal told Bernama.

"We hope to secure a few new additions before the next game against Kelantan on May 24."

Zainal's side looked on course for a crucial point at home to Felda until Malaysia international Norshahrul Idlan Talaha popped up with a 89th-minute winner.

It was a bitter blow to Penang, who have only 10 more matches to preserve their MSL status.

LIGA SUPER 2017 Pulau Pinang (1) - (2) Felda United FC #HPH #BolaPenang

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They are rooted to the bottom of the table, with only five points to their name.

The safety zone is five points away in 10th spot, so Penang will need to pull out all the stops to save themselves.

Zainal was also upset that his players failed to keep their concentration throughout the 90 minutes.

"If we were more disciplined, we could have come away with a point. That is one big aspect I need to work on with my team after this," he added.

Felda had taken a first-half lead through Argentina striker Lucas Cano before Penang hit man Nigel Dabingyaba levelled matters early in the second half.

Felda coach B. Satiananthan, meanwhile, is hoping his team's late win will set the tone for a top-four finish this season.

"We were a little fortunate in winning the game. We lost focus after they equalised, but managed to fashion a chance and score. But I am not entirely satisfied with the performance of my players," Satia said.

"We will also be looking to change some new import players ahead of the second transfer window."

The Fighters still have a lot of work to do to reach the top four. They are in eighth, five points behind fourth-placed Kelantan.

But Satia's men can at least dedicate their focus on the league, having been dumped out of the AFC Cup last week.