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Saturday, March 15, 2008

RHINOS THRASH FELDA UNITED


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah thrashed Felda United FC 4-1 to keep their promotion hopes intact as they moved up from fifth to fourth after the comfortable victory at the Likas Stadium last night.

The homesters were leading 3-1 at half time with Salvester netting twice before Jamie Phoenix added the third. Felda United’s goal was scored by Bayemi Maemble Eric Arsene. After the break, Salvester netted his third and eventually completed his hat-trick. With Kelantan being held to a one-all draw by Kuala Lumpur in another tie at the KLFA Stadium, Sabah moved a rung up on 30 points. They are level on 30 points with Johor Pasir Gudang, who did not see action last night, but stay behind as the Southern State team have a better goal average. Kelantan dropped to fifth on 29 points.

Sabah started the game pretty well and could have taken the lead in the 13th minute when Hishamuddin sent a through ball for Jamie Phoenix. The Englishman then centred the ball which found Salvester. Salvester managed to connect, but unfortunately his close-range attempt went above the crossbar.

Then in the 16th minute, Salvester was again denied from helping his side take the lead when a Chow Chee Wing cross found him again at the heart of the Felda United penalty box. This time, Salvester’s powerful header was blocked by the keeper Rozaimie Rohim. A minute later, Salvester was presented with another scoring opportunity, and it was Jamie again the provider, but again, Salvester failed to connect the ball into the net as his attempt went wide.

But in the 38th minute, Salvester was not to be denied from putting his name on the score-sheet when a Mohd Nafuzi Zain free-kick from about 40 metres found Salvester, whose glancing header defeated the hapless Rozaimie for the first time.

But Sabah’s celebrations were shortlived as Felda United equalised a minute later with Bayemi Maemble having the simplest of tasks by tapping the ball into the Sabah net after Irwan Jamil failed to make a clean catch off Badrul Afzan Razali’s free-kick from the right side of the Sabah goalmouth. But the equaliser seemed to awaken the homesters as Salvester unleashed a powerful grounder from inside the box to restore their lead in the 42nd minute. Then Jamie struck the third inside the first-half injury time to see them take a healthy lead at half time. After the break, Sabah seemed to be contented with the lead and defended for almost the entire half.

However, they did manage to increase the lead in the 54th minute when Salvester finished off an attempt from Hisamuddin. It started from the left flanker who unleashed a shot from just outside the box. The keeper failed to make a clean catch that saw Salvester easily slot home the loose ball.

Felda United tried hard to make a comeback, but the Rhinos’ defence marshaled by the steady Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, Mohd Munir Amran and Dragic Dalibor denied any of their attempts.

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