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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Battle for top spot

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: High-flying Sabahawks Juniors are expected to register an easy win when they take on bottom-of-the-table Penang SDM in a President’s Cup Group A penultimate tie at the Likas Stadium today. They have been unbeaten at home thus far, and the record is likely to stay unless the visiting club side can create an upset victory.

 Sabah team manager Juil Nuatim is confident his charges will get the job done today, insisting that there is no reason for them to take the game lightly. “We want to keep our unbeaten run intact at home. Furthermore, we still need the points to go top of the table,” Juil said. “So victory will be the only thing on our minds tomorrow (today).

 We know what we must do to topple Kedah from top spot. “We only have two matches left, and winning both (including against SDM) will see us conclude our group challenge as winners,” he added. Sabahawks Juniors would conclude their group challenge away to T-Team next week.
Kedah’s 2-1 win over Johor MBJB last Thursday saw them surge to the top of the order on 57 points. But a win for Sabahawks Juniors today will change that. The added three points will give Sabahawks a one-point advantage and a huge morale booster for their final clash against T-Team.

 “It is our ambition to win the Group A challenge and I think we have a good chance to achieve it. Sabahawks Juniors escaped with a 1-0 victory away in the first round against SDM. But today, Juil believes they should be able to nick a comfortable win over their opponents.

 “We will be having the homeground advantage as well as the support from the fans, and I expect the team to play to their utmost best and score many goals,” Juil said. He added that a brief discussion between him and head coach Johnny Dominicus revealed positive news for the team, where almost all of the key players are available for options, and this includes Super League-based striker Leopold Alfonso Otong, who saw about half an hour of action with the Seniors in the 1-2 defeat to T-Team on Tuesday.

 Juil said another Super League-based player Sabri Sahar will also feature for them against SDM. And there is more good news for the team as Juil also revealed that first-choice custodian Entre S. Tipay is now fully recovered from injury and is set to be the team’s ball stopper. Influential midfielder Maxsius Musa will also be making a return into the team from a hamstring injury.

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