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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Duo seal the points

New Sabah Times 
MAN OF THE MATCH … Michael (2nd from right), dribbles past a Sarawak player.
KOTA KINABALU: Australian striker Michael William Baird made an impressive home debut by scoring once and setting up the other goal as Sabah edged Sarawak 2-1 in a Super League tie at the Likas Stadium last night.

The Borneo Derby tie saw Michael net home the opener after 20 minutes before setting up Bobby Gonzales for Sabah’s second on the stroke of half time.

But the Aussie was the most outstanding lot among his teammates after putting up a man of the match performance throughout.

Not even the introduction of crowd favourite Jufrey Omopor could overshadow Michael’s performances as Sabah held on to their lead until the final whistle.

Playing in front of about 5,000 fans, which is their best ever attendance in their first home game in recent times, Sabah showed some glimpse of their quality although at times they seemed to crack.
Michael drew first blood after picking up a loose ball. It started from Bobby, who unleashed a powerful drive and the Sarawak keeper Saiful Amar Sudar failed to make a clean catch. The ball spilled and Michael easily slot home the opener.

The visitors could have levelled the score, but fortunately for Sabah, Mohamad Rashid Mohamad Aya missed a sitter. He failed to connect from close range.

Then not long after, this time it was K. Rajan who shot wide to deny Sarawak the leveller.
But as the match headed for the half-time break, Michael brilliantly outran Sarawak defenders before sending a superb cross that Bobby headed into the back of the Sarawak net.

After the break, Michael could have scored Sabah’s third, but unfortunately this time his attempt went straight into the keeper’s arms.
With about 30 minutes remaining, Sabah head coach Justin Ganai brought in Jufrey to replace Md Rozaimi Abdul Rahman.

The nippy striker had a couple of chances at the Sarawak goalmouth with the best one coming in the 84th minute after defeating two Sarawak defenders before unleashing a dipping shot that went inches wide.
Earlier on, Sarawak scored their equaliser through second-half substitute K. Ravindran, who tapped in a cross from Mohamad Rashid Mohamad Aya.

Sabah take on T-Team away on Jan 17.
Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Aussie hitman Michale Baird led Sabah to their first victory in the 2012 Malaysia Super League with a 2-1 victory over Sarawak at the Likas Stadium on Saturday night.
The import displayed his striker's instinct when he pounced on a mistake by Sarawak's keeper Saiful Amar to open Sabah's account in the new season with an opportunistic strike in the 20th minute.
Sabah had a chance to increase the lead five minutes later but Rozaimi Rahman who shot from inside the box missed the crossbar by inches with the keeper stranded.
However, the team failed to build on their momentum with the advantage and lost concentration after that allowing Sarawak to mount relentless attacks at the Sabah goal courtesy of some unforced errors by the home defence.
Sarawak's Md Rashid and K Rajan both had their chances to equalise but failed to grab the opportunity.
Sabah got the second goal right at the end of the first half injury time when Michael became the provider as he made a brilliant solo run into the penalty box to supply a superb cross for fellow striking partner Bobby Gonzales to nod home from close range.
Sabah started the second half in aggressive mood with Michael again in the thick of action. He made a try as early as the 49th minute but his delivery was too weak to trouble the keeper.
In the 56th minutes the Aussie provided a pass to fellow countryman Brandan Gan but his drive missed the post by a whisker.
Sabah had few more chances to increase their lead but Sarawak's keeper was at his best to thwart away several Sabah shots including a close range shot from Bobby.
Jufery Omopor was introduced in the 63rd minute to replace Rozaimi and his presence was immediate as he made several darting runs into the box.
However, the visiting team made the breakthrough at the run of play in the 73th minute as Substitute K. Ravindran tapped home from close range after Sabah's Mafry failed to intercept a cross cleanly from M. Rashid.
The goal boosted the Sarawak's players confidence as they made several dangerous raids into the Sabah's half but the Sabah defence managed to stay firm.
The final five minutes was all Sabah as Shahruddin Yaakub had a shot saved by the keeper while Jufery ran through the whole Sarawak's defence but his final shot was just inches too high.
More than 5000 spectators packed the stadium included Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Aman who is also the President of Sabah FA.
Sabah's next match will be an away game against T-team on Jan 17th.
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