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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Sabah hoping for a 'double'

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah will be hoping to complete a double over Kelantan in their President Cup match today (Thursday) at the Likas Stadium. The two teams last met on Feb 4 and Sabah came top with an upset away win with a goal from Rexjeson Pitrus over one of the favourites in the competition who are currently lying third in the league.

 Sabah will again be banking on Rexjeson and fellow strike partner Zul Manshah Aling to get a win today as the duo finally ended their months-long of goal drought with a goal each from them in the last two matches. It is crucial that the two can maintain their scoring touch as the team has serious problems scoring goals - so far this season they have only scored 15 goals in 19 matches played.

 The defence also has had a hard time keeping a clean sheet in recent games and they have conceded 15 goals to date as well. Their home record is also poor with only two wins, five draws, two losses. An early lead is a must to calm the nerves and if they can achieve that, the resulting three points will boost their chances of a quarterfinal berth at the end of the preliminary round.

 The match today will also see the return of coach Justin Ganai who was absent during the team's win over Melaka which was then under the helm of Burhan Ajui and Matasan Ahmad. Justin however, will still have to do with the original squad, as the newly registered players are unable to play for the next 14 days according to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

 It is a blow as one of the new recruits Denison Mathew who played in the friendly against the senior team on Tuesday has shown a lot of promise with his darting runs down the left. With Rawilson Batuil still sitting out with another match suspension, the back four will likely see captain Dendy Lowa assigned to cover the left with Shazree Ruhip Ismail on the right while the two centre backs are Jenius Karib and Benerlys Raim.

 Sabri Sahar will partner Hafizan Jahar in the centre of midfield and the two winger positions will be given to Umareng Bacok on the left and Anwari Tajuddin on the right and Robson Rendy Rinning will again start in goal.

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