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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sabah bag maximum points

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: It was a second home win for Sabah as they beat NS Betaria 2-0 in their Premier League clash at the rained soaked Likas Stadium pitch on Monday afternoon. Again it wasn't free-flow football that most fans came to see but what mattered most was that they grabbed the full points and did not concede any so far in their two home matches.

 The team opened the scoring when Koh Traore's shot was deflected in by Shahrudin Yakup in the 21st minute off a corner taken by him in the first place. Sabah had the most possession especially towards the end of the half and Sumardi Hajalan should have done better instead of shooting wide when put through by a Zainizam Marjan neat pass inside the box.

 The second half saw Sabah again dominate play and Traore had three chances to extend the lead but the opposition's keeper managed to pull off three brilliant saves to keep the score line at 1-0. And the keeper for reasons known only to himself also received boos from the crowd when he tried to delay the game early in the second half.

 Sabah's persistence finally paid off in the 85th minute when a flick by Traore allowed Zainizam to cut through from the right and instead of shooting, he unselfishly layed the ball to Jefry Omopor which was turned in my Betaria's import player Thomas Chovanec. Team manager Alijus Sipil said after the game that he was happy with the three points as targeted but admitted that there was still room for improvement and trusted that the coaching staff will do their job to improve the team in the coming matches.

 He also added that to play three games in seven days wasn't easy for any player and believed the team will get better with Rhys David Weston close to full fitness. Meanwhile, coach David McCreery was pleased with the result and the performance of the players. He reckoned that it wasn't easy playing against a team that everybody expected them to beat convincingly.

 "When you think that you are going to score, there is always a time that they may hit you and that is very dangerous." "I think the players are getting a step better in terms of fitness and there is certainly a need to improve in every department and to be truthful we got stronger at the back with Rosdin Wasli and Shahril Faizal Ahmad Shariffuddin coming well together."

 He also stressed that it was easy to play in the heavy pitch but glad that there was no major injury concern for the team apart from Sumardi Hajalan and Radzi Mohd Hussin who was playing his first match of the season. The team's next match is against Kuala Lumpur away this Friday (Jan 18).

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