By ESPNSTAR.com staff
Ahead of Tuesday's clash at the Darulmakmur Stadium, many had tipped Darul Takzim to comfortably see off their newly-promoted opponents after their heavy reinforcements over the off-season.
26 minutes in, that was certainly on the cards as the visitors raced to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Safiq Rahim and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who both benefitted from excellent deliveries by ex-Spain international Dani Guiza.
Realising that his foreign pair of Mohamed Borji and Nikolce Klecarovski were struggling to influence proceedings, Dollah decided to heed the advice of Pahang FA president Tengku Abdul Rahman Sultan Ahmad Shah by replacing them with wingers R. Gopinathan and R. Surendran at the break.
Both players went on to star as Tok Gajah pulled off a remarkable come-from-behind triumph, with the latter scoring the winner eight minutes from time after a Fauzi Roslan brace had made it 2-2, forcing their coach to admit it had been the right move.
"Foreign players are supposed to add more experience and help the team perform better," he told the New Straits Times. "But against Darul Takzim, it was the local boys who staged a strong comeback and went on the secure the three points.
'The introduction of Surendran and Gopinathan changed the flow of the game. The energy level changed and my boys kept our opponents busy with a fast playing tempo."
While he conceded their abject first-half display is something they will have to work on, the ex-Malaysia international expressed his belief that Tuesday's win will give them immense confidence as they look to stay in the country's top flight.
"I was furious with my players as they were often caught ball watching and gave too much respect to the opponents," Dollah added. "We were also lucky that Darul Takzim failed to find the back of the net in the second half.
"Now, the win will boost our confidence for the upcoming Super League matches. Winning three points is important and the occasion is special as we beat a team comprising several national players."
Surendran, who has been playing at Pahang since joining from Selangor in 2008, expressed his delight at his match-winning contribution although he was slightly taken aback to find out he was coming on at the break.
"I was surprised when the coach told me to warm up during the break and replaced Borji," he said.
"I am very happy that the coach put his faith in me and I responded with the winning goal."
Pahang are next in action on Friday when they visit FELDA United at the Petaling Jaya Stadium.