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Friday, June 28, 2013

Tough to make quarters despite win over Forces

New Sabah Times
MISSED … the young Mohd Farris Mahamud (right) unleashes a shot at Armed Forces goalmouth that went wide.
KOTA KINABALU: Despite nicking a 3-1 win over basement side Armed Forces, the Sabahawks Juniors’ chance of making it into the quarter-finals of the President’s Cup challenge remains gloomy. With only two matches left to play, both Negeri Sembilan and Penang are still holding the edge over the State Under-21 side.

 Negeri Sembilan currently sits on the last slot for the last eight with 50 points. Yesterday, they blanked Kuala Lumpur 2-0 on the road while Penang dropped a rung down to ninth on 48 points after succumbing to an embarrassing 1-6 defeat to Kelantan, also playing away. But the win over Armed Forces at the Likas Stadium yesterday was not enough for the Sabahawks Juniors to improve their position, as they remain in 10th on 47 points.

 Yesterday, Sabahawks Juniors had a bad first half that left team manager Datuk Juil Nuatim fuming. “We were not playing football. They seemed to lack interest. Things looked much better in the second half after a pep talk during the break,” said Juil. Both sides were scoring blanks in the opening 45 minutes. The match only came to life at the start of the second half.

 It was the host who drew first blood when Sabri Sahar slotted home the opener three minutes after the break. But as the match progressed, Ibrahim Arifi scored a spectacular volley from just outside the Sabahawks Juniors penalty box to eventually put his side on level terms in the 73rd minute. However, their joy was short-lived as Sabahawks Juniors restored their lead when Raja Mohd Ramzy scored an own goal. In trying to clear an earlier attempt by Rexjeson Pitirus, he accidentally cleared the ball into his own net. Then Sabri Sahar sealed their win with his 78th minute effort.

 “This may be a win too late for us, but the most important thing is we got what we wanted. Whether we make it or not, I want the team to try to win our remaining two matches,” said Juil. Sabahawks Juniors take on Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School away on July 1 before concluding their challenge home to Sarawak on July 4. went wide.

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