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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sweet revenge

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah avenged their first round defeat with an impressive 3-1 home victory over UiTM in their Premier League match at the Likas Stadium on Monday. Defensive midfielder Mohd Fazilidin Khalid justified his inclusion in the starting line-up with a goal inside the first minute.

 Alto Linus who received the ball at the start raced down the left flank and made his way inside the box before passing the ball to Zainizam and the latter laid a perfect back pass for Fazilidin to smash a grounder home from just outside the penalty area . It was the first goal for the local import and the early lead lifted the players' spirits and they continued to mount several attacks and in the 25th minute right winger Shahrudin Yakup added another with an angled shot from the edge of the box.

 Despite the slippery conditions both teams played a fast attacking game and in the first half injury time, new import Abdelfatah Safi struck again with a powerful shot from about 15 metres out after another neatly laid ball from Zainizam. Sabah continued to dominate the match after the restart and Abdelfatah was in the thick of action with his weighted passes but the continuous downpour made the pitch difficult for the strikers especially Koh Traore who always found himself losing his footing and falling before he could make any contact with the ball.

 As the match wore on, the home team's vulnerable defence began to show signs of weakness as the UiTM players began to take a grip on the game and in the 77th minute, a long diagonal pass saw the defenders in all sorts of problems and it ended with a shot from Afiff Ashraf that beat Sabah custodian Shahril Saa'ri from close range.

 The mistake clearly affected the Sabah players and with Koh also taken off, they were on the back foot for the remainder of the match after the goal. Shahril was called upon on several occasions to deny the visiting team with some heroic saves until the final whistle to bring joy to the officials and supporters who came to support the team.

 The victory was Sabah's seventh of the season and they have collected 24 points with three draws and seven losses after 17 matches played and they will remain in sixth position. Their next opponents are KL Pos and it will be played away on May 17.

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