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Friday, January 11, 2013

A tough assignment

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah need to play better against Sime Darby in their second game of the 2013 FAM Premier League season at the Selayang Stadium today (Friday) at 4.45pm. The players know that they have to raise their game after the unimpressive win in their opening match over KL SPA Putrajaya FC at home.

 It won't be an easy match as their opponents are one of the favourites in the league this season and they were knocked out by the same team in the first round of the FA Cup competition last season. Furthermore, the home team only managed a goalless draw against Johor in their first match and they will definitely try their best to get a win in front of their own fans.

 Sabah on the other hand, will have to make do without the commanding presence of Rhys Davis Weston who suffered a hamstring injury and did not travel with the team on Thursday. His place will be taken by former T-Team player Shahril Faizal Ahmad Shariffuddin who luckily did an admirable job coming on as a substitute for Rhys on Monday.

 Coach David McCreey who was absent from the bench on Monday is likely to be taking charge after winning his appeal. He needs to make the midfield department click for the match where both flanks were total flops against KL SPA. Farid Saibun on the left received the most stick from the fans especially in the first half with his lacklustre display on the pitch.

 Although he played much better in the second period, the coach is unlikely to take the risk and start with him again. His place will most likely be taken by Alto Linus and two-goal hero Sahrul Azhar Ture may switch to the right flank with Alto at the back while Sharudin Yakup plays on the left flank instead.

 If the midfield woes can be sorted out today and the players can get their passes in order and deliver some decent crosses to the strikers, Sabah will definitely have a chance to upset the odds and earn a valuable three points.

 The most probable starting lineups for Sabah today are goalkeeper Sahril Sa'ari with Rosdin Wasli, Shahril Faizal Ahmad Shariffuddin, Alto Linus, Sumardi Hajalan in defence with Ibnu Kassim, Sabri Sahar/Zainizam Marjan, Shahrudin Yakup and Sahrul Azhar Ture in the midfield while the strikers will feature Koh Traore and Kharul Izwan Khalid.

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