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Thursday, April 24, 2008

PRIDE AT STAKE


KOTA KINABALU: Rahman Zakaria insists they have themselves to blame for crashing out of the FA Cup competition on Tuesday night. The Rhinos’ team manager admitted that they failed to pounce on the opportunity given to them which eventually saw Pahang deservedly earning a place in the semi-finals.

“It was a game that we all know we had to win by at least a 2-0 margin. But we failed to do our job. The players tried really hard, but they just could not click when it mattered most.

“It was plain to see that we had better ball possession compared to Pahang, but sadly we didn’t create any goal scoring chances. “Throughout the game, we only managed to create two or three chances, which were unsatisfactory by our standard. “It was a difficult game. We know it was not easy to play on the slippery and muddy pitch, but at the end of the day it was Pahang that coped well under these circumstances.

“But as the saying goes, there is no point crying over spilt milk. We must take it as a lesson taught and try to rectify our mistakes,” said Rahman.

And Rahman said now they must try to focus on the League and as well as the upcoming Malaysia Cup.

“We must focus on our remaining three League games to ensure we finish on top. At the same time, we are also trying to build up ahead of the Malaysia Cup so that we will be in our best form for the prestigious competition,” he added. Malaysia Cup is the only place where they can salvage some pride following their exit from the FA Cup. Already out of the Premier League title race as well the battle for promotion to the Super League, the Rhinos’ naturally turned to the FA Cup to salvage some pride this season.

But this too they failed. Pahang won 4-1 on aggregate in the FA Cup. They won the first leg encounter 3-1 and repeated their winning feat with a slim 1-0 victory at the Likas Stadium. Moroccan hitman Redoane Barkaoui netted the only goal of the night in the 19th minute. The score line could have been higher for Pahang but Tarek Al Janaby shot over the bar from the penalty spot when Mohd Radzi Hussin was fouled for handling the ball inside the box.

In Tuesday night’s other matches, Super League champion Kedah won 10-3 on aggregate against Melaka, Selangor edged Kuala Muda Naza 4-2 on aggregate and Terengganu won 4-2 on aggregate against Felda United FC.

Sabah will resume their Premier League campaign against Proton FC at the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya on Friday April 25.

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