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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sabah must improve consistency

New Sabah Times
GOING FOR IT … Sabah’s Michael William Baird (in red) challenging for the ball with an unidentified Kuala Lumpur player during their Super League tie at the Likas Stadium on Tuesday.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah head coach Justin Ganai can now take a sigh of relief after seeing his side chalk up their second victory of the season on Tuesday.

It was their first after 540 minutes of action – thanks to youngster Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman and Australian Michael William Baird, who provided them the winners.

A win it was, but deep down, Justin knows, he still has plenty of work to do in turning the team into contenders in the 14-team league.
Based on the win over Kuala Lumpur, one could say, consistency is something that is still far away from the team, at least if we are to talk on the team’s performance, it was far from the kind of stuff they showed against Kelantan.

On the positive side, this was their fourth unbeaten game in a row, which if they take it from here, could see them among the top half in the 14-team standings if they can win their next couple of matches at the very least.

At the same time, at least for now, they can ease the growing pressure that they are facing after merely managing to nick one win (against Sarawak) and four draws and two defeats in their previous games.
“It (victory) ended all our worries before this. We really needed the win because of all the draws and I’m happy that the players managed to win the game,” said Justin, shortly after the match.
“We could have won by a better goal margin but it was never an easy game because Kuala Lumpur fought hard throughout.

“They may be (Kuala Lumpur) at the bottom of the table but that does not mean they are not good … that’s why I have to be content with the scoreline.
Justin hopes that the victory will be the turning point for the team to achieve better results in their upcoming matches.

“Not only does it give us three points but it also brings back the confidence to the team and the players,” added Justin.
In the match, Sabah was not at their best but still managed to take control of the game and created many chances.

Michael Baird made his return from a one-match suspension to lead Sabah to the win where he had a hand in the opening goal that Rozaimi Abd Rahman scored.
Rozaimi, after picking up a short pass from the Australian, sent a powerful grounder that Kuala Lumpur goalkeeper Mohd Amirul Abu Seman failed to deal with.
Baird then turned scorer with a cleverly placed shot after he controlled Sumardi Hajalan’s throughpass confidently inside the area.

But it was another youngster Leopold Alfonso Otong who was seen as the unsung hero in the game where both the two goals started from him.
The three points gained helped Sabah move back to 10th in the standings on nine points.
The Super League is taking a short break to give way to the FA Cup matches, with Sabah playing away to KL Sime Darby this weekend.
Sabah would resume their Super League challenge by taking on Johor FC at home on March 3.

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