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Friday, February 17, 2012

President Cuppers stretch unbeaten run

New Sabah Times
THE OPENER … Zackkalani (all red) coolly slots home the opener for Sabah. 
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah escaped with a hard fought 2-1 victory over Kedah in a President’s Cup Group A challenge at the Likas Stadium yesterday.


The feat saw them extend their unbeaten run after four matches into the season. Prior to the clash, they registered two wins over Johor and Melaka, and a draw with Bukit Jalil Sports School.
Sabah team manager Juil Nuatim when met shortly after the match was ecstatic after claiming all the three points.

He said it was a tough game before praising the visiting Kedah, who gave them a hard time.
“They are a good side. When you look at the game, in the first half, it was quite a balanced affair, but still I thought that we had a slight upper hand. But in the second half, they came back strongly and caused a lot of problems.

“Obviously we lost the battle in the middle of the park (in the second half), and we are fortunate that we still managed to steal away the game from them.
“Overall, I’m satisfied, especially with the outcome of the game, but on the other hand, we are not happy with the penalty against us. It shouldn’t have been a penalty, but things like this happen, so we have to live with it,” he added, before praising and thanking his charges for working hard for the win.

Again, Sabah left it late before notching the winner, just like what they did against Johor in the opener.
Second-half substitute Zul Mansshah Aling scored the winner from the spot for the host with only three minutes remaining on the clock.

Earlier, Zackkalani Antanom gave the host the lead in the seventh minute after slotting home the opener by connecting a freekick taken by skipper Didie Arizal.
Then in the 26th minute, it could have been 2-0 for Sabah, but unfortunately Maxsius Musa’s freekick hit the crossbar.

After the break, Kedah scored the equaliser through a controversial penalty converted by Mohd Arfan Rashid in the 62nd minute.
The spot kick had to be taken twice, with the first attempt saved by Sabah custodian Endre S. Tipay, who was said to have fouled Wan Mohd Syukri inside the box.
From then on, Kedah continued to dominate, but just could not find the goals, despite creating numerous chances.

As the match headed for a draw, Sabah were awarded a penalty after Zackkalani was brought down inside the box by a Kedah defender, with Zul Mansshah coolly slotting past the hapless Kedah custodian Zurika Muzaffar. Sabah take on KL Sime Darby away in their next game on February 20.

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