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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

T-Team edge Sabahawks

New Sabah Times
SABAH’S LITTLE MESSI … Juffrey being surrounded by T-Team players during their Super League tie at the Likas Stadium last night.
KOTA KINABALU: It ended in despair yet again for the Sabahawks after they bowed out 2-1 to Terengganu’s T-Team in a Super League tie at the Likas Stadium last night. The defeat could see them drop nearer into the relegation zone should results elsewhere not favour them.

 And there is certainly not much Sabahawks head coach Justin Ganai could do as he saw his side squander numerous chances of taking the game into their own hands. Instead, despite a promising start, Sabahawks saw themselves trailing to Mohd Fadzli Saari’s 28th minute opener, who scored a stunner from the edge of the penalty box.

 It started from a mistake by Mafry Balang, who saw his pass intercepted by a Terengganu player, who later fed the unmarked Mohd Fadzli. The latter unleashed a dipping shot that left Sabahawks custodian Azizon Abd Kadir hapless as he merely managed to see the ball sail into the back of his net.
But Sabahawks fought their way back, and managed to score the equaliser through German signing Hendrik Helmke’s 32nd minute spot kick. Sabahawks were awarded the penalty kick after a Terengganu player was caught for handball inside the box. Earlier in the game, Sabahawks could have taken an early lead, but the nippy Juffrey Omopor squandered the golden opportunity.

 Making his first start of the season, Juffrey, dubbed as Little Messi by the fans, was left unmarked inside the box and Zainizam unselfishly fed him, but unfortunately, he blasted the ball wide from the edge of the six-yard box despite only having the keeper to beat. At other end, T-Team also had a decent try when Tengku Hasbullah was left alone on the right side of the Sabahawks goalmouth, but fortunately Tengku Hasbullah’s grounder attempt went straight to Azizon.

 Two minutes after the break, Shahrul Azhar Ture saw his attempt go inches wide before Azizon made a superb save by blocking Marco Tulio Lopes’ shot in a one-on-one situation. In the 56th minute, Sabahawks could have taken the lead, but no thanks to the blundering substitute Leopold Alfonso Otong.

 Barely a minute on the field after replacing the injured Zainizam, who limped out of the field with a hamstring problem, Leopold saw his close range attempt hit the cross bar after receiving a superb cross from Shahrul. Then in the 61st minute, Brendan saw his grounder from the D-box go wide.

 And out of the blue, T-Team shocked the home fans when Mohd Fadzli put his side into the lead with a header connecting a brilliant pass from Marco that defeated Azizon for the second time. The defeat could see Sabahawks drop nearer into the relegation zone if results elsewhere do not favour them. For the record, the Super League is taking a one-month break, and this time it may be for the good for the Sabahawks. The League would resume mid June.

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