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Friday, May 10, 2013

Sabah must tighten up leaky defence

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Defence holds the key for Sabah in their Premier League encounter with Kedah this evening (Friday) at the Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Star. The team has only kept one clean sheet since the start of the season and that was against Sarawak back on March 8. They have conceded a total of 27 goals and a solid performance from the defence tonight will be the key factor to a favourable result for coach David McCreery.

 The 4-1 win against NS Betaria in their last match clearly indicated that the team's defence has strengthened with the return of centre back Shahril Faizal Ahmad Shariffuddin. But against a much stronger Kedah team, the players will need to give more than 100 percent to avoid a repeat of their 2-0 loss in the first round tie held here at the Likas Stadium in January.

 They must address the lapses of concentration that cost them vital goals throughout the season as in the case of the NS Betaria match where they allowed their opponents to draw level against the run of play just before half time. The defensive line-up today is likely to see Mohd Fazilidin Khalid occupying the defensive midfield role with Shahril and Hardy Charles Parsi in the centre of defence supported by Julamri Mohd and Sharul Azhar Ture while the goalkeeping department will be a toss between Syamsuri Mustafa and Sharil Sa'ari. 

They must not allow their opponents to have any room to shoot and if they manage to achieve that then they have a good chance of grabbing all three points as nobody doubts their attacking ability at the moment. After managing only eight goals in their first seven matches, the team came to life in the next eight matches with 19 goals and Koh Traore alone netted 13.

 Koh will again spearhead the team's attack today with Zainizam Marjan right behind him while new signing Abdelfatah Safi will pull the strings from the centre and the two wingers will be Alto Linus and Shahrudin Yakup. All four players have scored once in the last three matches and they need to step up their game again and try to chip in more goals as the in form Koh Traore will definitely draw the attention of the Kedah defence and open the opportunity for them.

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