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Monday, March 19, 2012

Justin: Humiliating loss a wake-up call

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Warning bells are ringing loud and clear for Sabah whose five-match unbeaten run finally ended in a rather embarrassing way on Saturday.
They lost to Terengganu in a nine-goal thriller that eventually saw them drop two rungs down from sixth to eighth in the 14-team standings.

Sabah head coach Justin Ganai said the defeat is a wake-up call for them to double their efforts in putting things right in their quest for a top five finish.
For the record, Sabah has not lost league games since January 21 until the tie against Terengganu where they were humbled 6-3, and no thanks to poor defending and their finishing too!

“I rather take this defeat positively because I still believe that we can make a quick recovery and eventually put ourselves back on the right track. So this is a wake-up call for us to be more ready in our future fixtures.
While refusing to take away the credit from the rampant Terengganu side, Justin said, should they have been more clinical in their finishing and minimise on their errors, they could have walked home with a point from the game at the very least.

“If not for the mistakes we made, I still believe that we could have settled for a draw.
“I find no fault on the opener, but the second, third and fourth goals were from our mistakes,” said Justin.
“Having said that, I thought we lost to a better side, and that they (Terengganu) deserved the victory because they played so well, especially their Liberian striker, who looked dangerous all night.

“When I met Mat Zan (Mat Aris – Terengganu head coach), he was also surprised with how well he (Liberian striker) played. Actually, Mat Zan told me, the Liberian was carrying injury,” said Justin.
According to him, they let the Liberian striker move freely and cause havoc in front of their goalmouth.

“When you do that, you will be punished, and that was exactly happened to us,” said Justin.
Despite the score line, Justin said that the result did not suggest it was a one-way traffic.
“We did create numerous goal scoring chances. In fact, we were the early aggressor, and earlier on, we saw Bobby (Gonzales)’s effort from about six-yard box went off target.

“I think we had like two or three chances before they scored their opener from an ensuing corner kick.
Justin said conceding three early goals (after 13 minutes of play) did the damage on their hope for a fightback.
“In fact, our plans did not work out because they scored three early goals. It affected our game plan.
Sabah was already trailing by three goals after just 13 minutes into the game.
Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin scored the opener as early as in the fourth minutes followed by Liberian striker Francis Forkey Doe’s double, who netted twice in three minutes with the first in the 11th minute then the second in the 13th minute.

But Sabah managed to reduce the deficit through Zainizam Marjan’s 33rd minute effort, but Terengganu managed to restore their three goals lead through Abd Manaf Mamat 42nd minute goal.
Brendan Gan put Sabah back in the game with his 44th minute striker to eventually see them go into the half time break trailing 2-4.

After the break, Sabah narrowed the gap when Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman scored in the 64th minute to make the scoreline 4-3.
“When the score was at 4-3, we knew they (opponent) looked nervous, unfortunately, we were a little bit too eager to find the equaliser and continued with our attack. It was from the counter attack, which they are really good at, that we conceded another two goals late on,” Justin said referring to Doe’s 77th minute effort, which completed his hat trick before Joseph Kalang scored the sixth two minutes later.

Late on, Sabah squandered the chance to reduce the deficit when Bobby Gonzales squandered his spot kick.
The Super League is again taking a two-week break to give way for the FA Cup competition, and Sabah would only resume their challenge on March 31 home to Selangor.

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