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Thursday, August 16, 2007

RHINOS IN SEMIS


TAWAU: Nigerian striker Charles Obi turned hero for his side when his injury-time goal helped Sabah to chalk up a 3-1 victory over Negeri Sembilan NAZA to eventually book a place in a Malaysia Cup semi-finals.

The Rhinos marched into the last four after registering a 4-2 aggregate victory over their opponent, who won the first leg encounter 1-0 at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi.

Rhinos now will meet Perak, who won 5-3 on aggregate over Perlis. The Northern Lions failed to hold on to their two-goal first leg lead when they were trounced 5-1 by the marauding Silver State team.

The well-deserved victory will see Sabah’s hunt for their first silverware in about a decade to continue. Playing in front of a capacity crowd of about 10, 000 at the newly completed RM69m sports complex, Sabah showed no mercy to their opponent as they took a first half lead.

It was the new signing Brazilian striker Felisberto De Oliveira Jr that sent the crowd into a frenzy when scored from a grounder three minutes before the first half break which gave no chance for the NS NAZA custodian Mohd Yazid Mohd Yassin.

Earlier on, Tengku Qayyum Ubaidillah could have stunned the homesters in the 22nd minute but fortunately for Sabah, Rezuan Muhammad Radzy was there to clear Tengku’s header off the line.

Then in the 31st minute, Obi had his first shot at NS NAZA goal, but his close range grounder went straight into the keeper’s arms. Two minutes later, NS NAZA’s Ching Hong Aik saw his close range effort just fly above the cross bar.

The much-needed goal finally came for Sabah when Felisberto unleashed a powerful grounder from just outside the penalty box that went straight into the back of the net for Sabah to take a 1-0 lead at half time.

With eight minutes remaining into regulation time, Felisberto struck for the second time when his header, off a pass from Chow Chee Wing, went straight into the back of the net.

But with two minutes remaining Julius Orisrseweyinmi Ejueyitsi silenced the home fans when he helped the visitors reduce the deficit after capitalising on a blunder at the Rhinos back line.

But the Rhinos were full of fighting spirit and were not to be denied of a place in the last four. Obi struck the winning goal in injury time after receiving a pass from Chow Chee Wing before easily slotting home from close range.

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