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Monday, December 31, 2007


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah are hoping to usher their New Year with a hat-trick victory as they face what is dubbed as their first “real test” of the season by taking on Kuala Lumpur in an away battle at the KLFA Stadium in Cheras tonight.

After registering two convincing victories in their previous games, the Rhinos will go into the match brimming with confidence!

However, they are also facing unfamiliar pressure as expectations are also high for them to keep the winning momentum going.

With Kuala Lumpur their opponents on the night, the Rhinos will surely have to put in extra effort to ensure they will enter the New Year with an unbeaten record and remain at the top of the 13-team standings.

“It’s been a superb first two games for the team,” commented Rahman Zakaria. “But I would like to remind the players not to get carried away too easily.

“We shouldn’t take things for granted and we must put up our best show in every match we play.

“After the two good wins, I don’t want the players to try and take things easy because we will get punished for being complacent.

“They must realise that our journey is still a long way to go and we must keep moving forward and look ahead for better results,” the Rhinos’ team manager added.

On the match against Kuala Lumpur, Rahman said they must treat the game seriously like any other game.

He admitted this is going to be a tough one, but believes the team are able to handle the challenge ahead of them especially after the two stunning victories.

“Like the first two games, this one is no different and it is not going to be an easy task for us. We have to go out there and play our hearts out to earn the points,” he said.

“Like I said earlier, we must try to keep our momentum going. As long as we try our best, I’m very sure we will be rewarded at the end of the day.

Rahman hinted that the Rhinos’ head coach is expected to stick to his winning side, adding that if there are any changes it will be minor and only for tactical reasons.

“All the players that made the trip to Tawau are available for the clash, so I see no reason why there should be any major changes to the first eleven.

“I’m sure if there are any, it will be because of our game plan and nothing more. The players who have seen action for the team in the last two games have done well, and I think they deserve to be given more chances to play,” said Rahman.

Sabah currently occupy the top spot in the standings with a maximum six points after two games into the season.

They thrashed Armed Forces 4-0 in an away battle in the opener, before trouncing Premier League new boys Proton FC 4-1 in their first home game at the Tawau Sports Complex on Friday.

As for Kuala Lumpur, they are two points behind the Rhinos.

They defeated Melaka 1-0 at home in the opener before being held to a two-all draw by Shahzan Muda in an away battle in the last game. The four points earned sees them in third behind the Rhinos and second placed Johor, who are level on six points, but the Rhinos are holding a superior goal average to stay in pole position.

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