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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

VISITORS HUMBLE RHINOS


KOTA KINABALU: Luck-less Sabah were humbled 2-1 by visiting Shahzan Muda of Pahang in a Premier League tie at the Likas Stadium last night.

The defeat would surely put a dent on their hopes of ending their season in fourth as Johor Pasir Gudang, who despite succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to leaders Kuala Muda Naza in Johor Baru still hold a one point advantage over them. A victory could have given Sabah the slight edge, but unfortunately two blunders by goalkeeper Irwan Jamil, allowed lowly Shahzan Muda to walk home as victors.

It was certainly not a night Irwan would want to remember as his first blunder allowed Anthony Josip Milicic to slot home the opener as early as the fifth minute.

It all started from a quick counter attack from Shahzan Muda after an ensuing corner by Sabah. However, the alert Dragic Dalibor managed to outrun a Shahzan Muda player and back passed the ball to Irwan. Unfortunately, Irwan miss-kicked the ball, but Henry Parsi had the chance to clear the ball. He made a poor clearance as the loose ball found Anthony, who slotted the opening goal with ease from close range.

But the goal did not deter Sabah’s spirit as they fought hard to make a comeback. However, despite several attempts at the Shahzan Muda goalmouth, they just could not find the much needed equaliser. In the ninth minute, Andre saw his header off a corner taken by Mohd Nafuzi Zain cleared by the keeper, while in the 11th minute Bobby Gonzales’ header off a cross by Kokhrei Dze Irakli hit the goalpost.

Then a minute later, this time Irakli saw his powerful header blocked by the keeper after receiving a superb cross from Hisamuddin Othman. And in the 25th minute, Bobby missed a sitter when he shot above the crossbar from close range.

In a rare attack, Shahzan Muda earned a freekick from about 30 metres and Wan Azwari Wan Nor was the taker. The stout defender unleashed a powerful shot which Irwan could have punched clear or catch. However, he carelessly blocked the ball and the loose ball found Anthony who eventually headed it into the goalmouth from close range.

At the start of the second half, Irwan was replaced by Harold John while Hardy Charles Parsi came in for his elder sibling Henry. Sabah dominated the half, but again failed to find the net.

Irakli had the first try of the half where his 30-metre effort was palmed away by the keeper for a fruitless corner. And in the 63rd minute, defender Dragic Dalibor put Sabah back into the game when he headed home from a corner taken by Nafuzi. In the 74th minute, Dragic managed to head a Hisamuddin corner, but unfortunately this time, it was disallowed for no apparent reason! With two minutes remaining, Sabah were close to scoring the equaliser. It started from a move by Chow Chee Wing from the left. He centred for Andre, who managed to connect, but unfortunately, the keeper blocked it and the ball went out for a corner.

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