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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sabah make playoff despite loss

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Premier League squad made it to the Malaysia Cup playoff despite suffering a heavy 1-6 defeat to Johor FA at the Pasir Gudang Stadium on Monday evening. PDRM who had a chance to bring the game to the last match of the preliminary round suffered a 2-3 loss to Perlis in the earlier match thus handing Sabah and Pos Malaysia an unassailable lead sitting comfortably in the fifth and sixth position for the playoff.

 Pos Malaysia only managed a 1-1 draw with KL Spa in the afternoon match and they are still three points behind Sabah with a match to go. Sabah's final match is at home on July 5 to Sarawak who had already claimed the Premier League title with a 4-0 thrashing of Kuala Lumpur on Monday. Meanwhile, the State juniors failed to take advantage of their home ground and were beaten 1-0 by Terengganu on the same night.

The match which was supposed to kick off at 4.15pm was delayed until 8.15pm because of the late arrival of the match referee from Pahang due to the haze. The home players playing at night for the first time this season were unable to mount any meaningful attacks in the first half. The visitors with their superior physical presence were able to stop any Sabah attempts at goal with ease.

 They also caused havoc in the Sabah goal with their aerial prowess and luckily Sabah custodian Endre S Tipay was also up to the task and managed to clear the danger on several occasions. A tactical change in the second half saw Sabah having more of the possession and they could have taken the lead themselves but the players failed to take their chances.

 It cost them dearly as they were dealt a blow in the 55th minute when Syed Sobri unleashed an unstoppable dipping shot from 25 yards that gave Endre no chance to react. With that defeat, the team remained in 10th position with 44 points and their chances of making the knockout stage look bleak as their closest rivals Negeri Sembilan won in an early match and are now only a point behind eight place Penang with 47.

 Their next match is against ATM this Thursday (June 27) at the Likas Stadium.

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