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Friday, January 30, 2009

Goalie saves the day

KOTA KINABALU: Ovinnis Ozawa Joachim saved the day for the junior Rhinos as they were held to a one-all draw by Kelantan in a President’s Cup match at the Likas Stadium yesterday.

The young custodian made numerous brilliant saves to help his side collect a point in a match that could have gone either way with better finishing.

The junior Rhinos were trailing 1-0 after 58 minutes of play, but were presented with a gifted equaliser in the 68th minute after a Kelantan player scored an own goal.

Team manager Alijus Haji Sipil was satisfied with the result, saying that his charges did their best despite not being able to parade their best squad.

“We are happy with our overall performance considering that Kelantan is one of the favourites. They were the champions (Youth Cup – U-19) last year, and basically they are having the same team.

“Furthermore, we could not parade our strongest squad due to injuries, while both Leopold (Alphonso Otong) and Selyvister (Saini) were called into the senior side.

“But we have no complaints because their absence has given the opportunity to the other players to show their worth. It is a good thing that we can utilise all the players that we have.

“When you look at the game, it was an equally contested tie with both sides having equal chances at each other’s goalmouths.

“At the end of the day, I would say that it was a fair result for both sides,” Alijus said.

Sabah had the better of the first quarter in the game as they dominated but could not create any chances.

Knowing that he was outplayed, Kelantan coach Kamarudin Mohd Nor made a tactical change by bringing in midfielder Mohd Ailim Fahmi Kamaruddin for Muhd Firdaus Mat in the 20th minute.

It worked wonders as from then on it was a well balanced affair.

In fact, it was Mohd Ailim who had the first chance of the half when in the 27th minute he unleashed a long range effort that was palmed away for a fruitless corner by the steady Ovinnis.

Towards the end of the first half, Sabah squandered their only chance of the half as Zenelter Dangku shot wide from close range.

There was more action in the second half as both sides exchanged attacks at each other’s half.

However, it was Kelantan who broke the deadlock when Mohd Alim curled the ball past Ovinnis from the edge of the box to give his side the lead.

However, it took Sabah 10 minutes to put things on level terms when striker Tarajan Amil’s cross from the left side deflected off Ally Imran Samarkhan’s head and went into his own net.

Later on, Ovinnis denied Kelantan from scoring at least twice including efforts from Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria and Muhammad Afham Zulkifli.

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