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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sabahawks can't stop the rot

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah succumbed to a 1-2 defeat to Pos Malaysia in their Premier League match at the Likas Stadium on Monday. It was a different line-up fielded by coach David McCreery with Shahrudin Yakup Sabri, Sahar and Leopold Alfonso making a comeback while Rosdin Wasli played in central defence with Hardy Charles Parsi.

 The match was barely into the fifth minute when the Sabah defence suddenly switched into sleep mode and allowed Pos Malaysia'a Saufi Ibrahim a free ride into the box before shooting past the hapless Sabah custodian Syamsuri Mustafa. Sabah came back quickly as they replied four minutes later when Alto unleashed an angled shot from 12 yards after good work from Leopold Alfonso that gave Pos Malaysia's goalkeeper no chance.

 From then on it was Sabah in control but again as in the previous games, poor finishing and hesitancy in front of goal cost them dearly. Shahrudin and Leopold both had excellent chances to take the lead but they either shots were off target or ballooned from close range especially towards the end of the half. Instead of maintaining their momentum at the restart, it was a poor show by Sabah with the players all over the place and failing to close down on their opponents.

 The second goal conceded was another easy effort from Saufi in the 67th minute when the Sabah players failed to deal with a cross from the left. The introduction of Zainizam Marjan and Koh Traore in the latter part of the half failed to spare Sabah's blushes and they had to contend with their second home loss of the season.

 McCreery was mystified by the performance of his players on the pitch. He said after the match that the players had only put up 75 percent of their abilities and they could have won the match if they continued to play as they did in the first half. "It was very difficult to know what went on in their minds. We could have won by 2-1 or 3-1 if they kept up their momentum and I guess some of these players need to ask themselves and wonder what is going to happen in the future."

 He also disclosed he was forced to reshuffle the defence because regular Shahril Faizal Ahmad Shariffudin was ill during lunch time and unfit to play. Sabah will play Johor in their next match at home on March 1.

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