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Friday, February 10, 2012

President Cuppers maintain unbeaten run

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah maintained their unbeaten run in the President’s Cup Group A challenge after holding Bukit Jalil Sports School to a one-all draw at the MSN field in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The State Under-21 team were heading towards their first defeat of the season after trailing to a Bukit Jalil Sports School first half opener until striker Zul Mansshah Aling put them on level terms with five minutes remaining on the clock.

Team manager Juil Nuatim when contacted said that he was happy with the result.
“This was our first time playing on such a turf (artificial). The field was a bit slippery for the boys and although they managed to adapt to the condition, it did affect our momentum a little.

“The unfortunate thing was that our midfielder (Sabri Sahar) had to be replaced after only 15 minutes due to injury, and it was a few minutes later when they scored the opener,” said Juil.
Juil said they were presented with the opportunity to draw level when they were awarded a penalty in the 49th minute.

Unfortunately, he revealed, Zackkalani Antanom or Bambang as he is fondly known among his teammates, stepped up to take the spot kick only to find it go off target.
But the penalty miss did not deter Sabah from fighting on.

“I got to praise them for their efforts. They played their hearts out until the final whistle,” said Juil.
Sabah finally found the much needed equaliser when a Zul Mansshah freekick went straight into the back of the Bukit Jalil Sports School net.

Not long after, Sabah were forced to play with one man lesser when midfielder Fread Filemon Saih was given the marching orders for a second yellow card in the game, but Sabah managed to hold on until the end.
Juil went on to say that they actually managed to create numerous goal-scoring opportunities, but were denied by their finishing.

Nevertheless, he said he was still satisfied with the result considering that the match has given the players a new experience – playing on an artificial pitch.
“As I have said earlier, two points was the target in these two consecutive away ties, and we managed to return home with four points, so I think I cannot ask for more.”

Prior to the clash, Sabah trounced Melaka 4-1. In the opener they edged Johor 2-1 at home, and the latest result should put them among the top teams in the standings.
Sabah’s next assignment is a home tie against Kedah on February 13.

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