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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sabah draw with Penang

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah President Cup squad finally found the net after four matches but still had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Penang at the Likas Stadium on Monday. Lady luck was not with the home team as they had at least five chances in the final 10 minutes to seal the win but somehow the efforts by Eyo Mathew, Fread Filemon and Sabri Sahar were either saved, cleared off the line by the defenders or hit the post.

 As usual, the Sabah team started slow and Penang were the better team in early exchanges and forced a few corners before the scoring chance from Sabah in the 23rd minutes when Zul Manshah Aling had a powerful header stopped by the Penang's keeper at the far post. However, it was the visiting team who broke the deadlock in the 30th minute with a neatly built up goal from the defence and finished by Mohd Ammer with an angle shot out of the reach of the onrushing Robson Rendy Rining.

 Sabah's reply was quick as five minute later, they drew level with a thunderous header from Mohd Alfian Jamil off a corner. It was still an open game after that with Penang looking more threatening with their neat passing game while Sabah looked a bit disjointed and the defence without the commanding figure of Rawilson Batul was easily torn apart by the Penang players.

 The team also had keeper Robson to thank for when he managed to block a point-blank shot with his body for a corner late in the second half. It was only after the introduction of Fread with 10 minutes to go that saw Sabah finally found the rhythm as they dictated the match and had the Penang players pinned inside the box.

 The Sandakan lad first unleashed a shot from 20 metres which was turned away by the keeper and he followed that up minutes later with another shot which was blocked by the defenders. The best chance fell to another substitute Eyo Mathew but his shot was blocked by one of the defenders on the line.

 Team manager Datuk Juil Nuatim was disappointed with the team's failure to take advantage of their home ground to get the three points. "It was rather frustrating that we again failed to win at home but I must admit that luck deserted us today and I hope the players could continue their momentum as shown especially in the second period to the next match."

 The draw was Sabah's fifth at home and they only managed one win against KL back in Feb 21 and they also suffered one loss by Perak. They had collected 15 points after 11 matches played so far with three wins and six draws. Their next match is against Perlis away on March 25.

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