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Friday, February 01, 2013

Sabah held to 1-1 draw

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah had to come from behind to snatch a 1-1 draw in their President Cup opener against Melaka at the Likas Stadium on Thursday. Despite featuring most of the players from last season's campaign, the home team failed to shine and allowed the opposition to have several dangerous attempts on their goal especially in the first half.

 There were many close calls and one point-blank shot was brilliantly punched away by Endre S. Tipay while Sabah resorted to long range shots that failed to trouble the Melaka custodian. Sabah started the second period with more venom but again the players failed to find the target with their shots.

 And against the run of play, Sabah found themselves a goal behind when Melaka player Nazmee Ari burst through the midfield before beating Endre for the opener in the 69th minute. Didie Arizal, who was one of the those who failed to take their chances earlier, redeemed himself when he lobbed the ball past the stranded goalkeeper before blasting it home from close range to even the score in the 80th minute.

 Sabah could have snatched a last gasp victory when substitute Fread Filemon Saih, who had just come on the pitch, shot sky high yards from the goalmouth to the disbelief of the crowd in the stadium. The match clearly showed that there is room to improve and coach Justin Ganai was not too happy with the team's performance.

 "Of course it wasn't a good result as we are playing home and I was hoping for a victory." "But this is only the start of the season and there are many areas needs to be rectified especially the midfield." He said the strikers were not getting a good supply of passes from the midfield and the team struggled as such.

 "The midfield was a bit disjointed and failed to create chances for the strikers up front and there was a reason for that as Sabri Sahar never trained with us while Zul Manshah Aling had only just returned on Wednesday but they are needed because this is our first home game." On the goal that Fread missed, Justin said he did not blame the player as he reckoned that players from the Super League may also did the same mistake and he believed the team will improve as the season progress.

 Meanwhile, team manager Datuk Juil Nuatim said it wasn't easy to play against Melaka as they are a very good team and he hopes the Sabah players will learn from the match and try to improve themselves as there is still a very long season to go.

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