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Monday, February 13, 2012

Start winning

New Sabah Times
SHAHRUDIN YAKUP … scored a brace for Sabah.
KOTA KINABALU: It’s about time for Sabah to start winning matches or they may find themselves in a similar situation as last season where they fought tooth and nail for Super League survival.

After seven matches into the season this seems to be so. A string of draws and losses see them lying fourth from bottom in the 14-team standings with seven points to show from a win, four draws and two defeats.

Their only victory was a home game against neighbour Sarawak last January where they won 2-1.
But credit should be given to Sabah head coach Justin Ganai and his boys as for their previous outings they created enough chances to come out as victors but unfortunately this didn’t happen as victory seemed elusive.

They have improved compared to last year at the same stage of the league but this is not good enough as valuable points were lost.
At the same stage last year, Sabah were among the teams in the bottom half of the standings with five points after merely registering a win and two draws while the other four matches ended in defeat.
Justin Ganai is fully aware of the current situation and he admitted that they need to get back to winning ways after seeing his side register their third consecutive draw against Kedah.

“This was our fourth draw and if we had just finished off the scoring chances I think we will be in a better position now. We have dropped too many points from the drawn matches,” said Justin yesterday.

“So now, we must win our next match against Kuala Lumpur on February 14,” he insisted.
Against Kedah, a freak goal from Shahrudin Yakup helped Sabah take the lead in the 21st minute but that was cancelled out by Khyril Muhymeen Zamri’s 29th-minute effort before Faizal Abu Bakar put the hosts in the lead with a thunder-like shot in the 38th minutes.
But Shahrudin made sure Sabah did not return home empty handed after a spectacular goal early in the second half.

In the last quarter of the game, Sabah were forced to play with a man less after Brendan Gan was shown the marching order for two yellow card offences.
“Our performance was not what we expected. Our game plan did not work.

“We started with Mafry (Balang) in midfield to mark out Kedah’s new import as reliable sources told us that he was good. However, our plan did not work as our midfield was in disarray because the player (Kedah) moved around a lot,” said Justin.

But Justin considers them lucky to have picked up a point as Kedah played a better game.
Meanwhile, Kelantan returned to the top of the Super League table again with a 2-1 win over arch rivals Terengganu in front of their home crowd at the Sultan Mohamad IV Stadium, Kota Baharu.
With the win, the Red Warriors collected 17 points to clip Perak’s wings by two points after seven matches.

The home team opened the scoring through Norsharul Idlan Talaha in the 37th minute before skipper Mohd Badhri Mohd Radzi made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute. Fighting an uphill battle, Terengganu reduced the deficit in the dying minutes of the match through Mohd Ashari Shamsudin.

Perak’s hopes of staying at the top of the league fizzled out when they succumbed to a 0-2 defeat to T-Team at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Kuala Terengganu after a scoreless first half.
T-Team went ahead through Bojan Petric in the 56 minute before Zairo Anuar Zailani added another goal from the penalty spot in the 88th minute.

At the Petaling Jaya City Council Stadium, Kelana Jaya, Selangor had to eat a humble pie when they went down 0-2 to SelangorPKNS with one goal in each half from Rudie Ramli (33rd minute) and Helmi Remeli (60th minute).

Elsewhere, Sarawak edged Felda United 2-1 at the state stadium in Kuching while Lions XII beat Negeri Sembilan 3-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, who are at the wrong end of the table, failed to break the jinx by reeling to a 0-2 defeat to Johor FC at the Hang Jebat Stadium, Melaka.

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