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Monday, July 02, 2012

Andrew: No room for error

New Sabah Times
Andrew during his time at UMS (source:http://www.ums.edu.my)
KOTA KINABALU: The convincing 4-2 win over bottom of the table Kuala Lumpur on Saturday was a confident booster for Sabah who are on the road to take on Johor FC on Tuesday. However, the road to safety is still far, rough and winding as the race for Super League survival is likely to be fought right down to the wire.

 With all of their relegation-threaten rivals, except for Johor FC, winning their respective battles, it is still status quo for Sabah as they are still a mere point ahead of Kedah, who occupy one of the two relegation slots. Sabah are currently on 12th with 25 points in their bag while Kedah 13th are on 24 points.

 Johor FC, who lost 1-3 to Sarawak on the same night, is in 11th, also with 25 points, but stay ahead of Sabah on better goal difference. The crucial end of season run-in is fast approaching, and it is going to be an interesting one too. With Kelantan looking good to defend their crown, at the other end of the table will be an interesting one, as the battle for survival will be a dogfight.

 This season, it is not one, two or three teams but seven who are fighting for their lives in trying to avoid the drop to the Premier League next season. Among the seven, one will accompany the already-relegated Kuala Lumpur, to be demoted into the Premier League next season. Besides, Johor FC, Sabah, and Kedah, teams like Sarawak, Selangor PKNS, Terengganu’s T-Team and Felda United FC are also in the relegation dogfight albeit Sarawak, PKNS and T-Team have an edge over the rest.

 Sarawak are currently in seventh with 29 points. However, they have played a game more than the likes of Sabah, Kedah, PKNS, T-Team and Kedah. Caretaker coach Andrew Majanggim is fully aware of the uphill task ahead for the team and admitted that the fight for survival is crucial and a lot tougher for his side.

 “The fight for survival is getting tougher. Teams have little margin for error because from now on, all points will be important,” said Andrew while hoping that the back to back victories over Kedah and Kuala Lumpur respectively could help lift the players’ confidence for their upcoming matches starting with the away tie to Johor FC. On the victory over Kuala Lumpur, Andrew said he was happy with the result before admitting that there are minor details that need to be improved on.

 “Kuala Lumpur showed that they were no pushovers despite their lowly position and that was why I was happy with the result,” Andrew stressed. “It was the first time that we have scored four goals this season and if only we have taken our chances like that in our past fixtures…”

 In the tie, rookie defender Razid Gapar, who was recently promoted from the President’s Cup squad, scored his first Super League for Sabah, by heading home from close range. After the break, a deflected shot from Sharudin Yakup put Sabah 2-0 up before Zakaria Charara reduced the deficit for Kuala Lumpur from the spot. Radzi Mohd Hussin restored Sabah’s two-goal lead soon after before Mohd Afiq Azmi made it 3-2 for Kuala Lumpur. Late on, youngster Leopold Alfonso Otong sealed Sabah victory with a fine long range effort.

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