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Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Juniors, Kedah to battle for last quarters berth

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabahawks Juniors will fight it out with Kedah for the remaining quarterfinal slot in the President’s Cup challenge. Yesterday, Negeri Sembilan clinched their ticket after nicking a convincing 4-1 win over Police to accompany Perak, Johor, Pahang, Kelantan, Selangor and Terengganu, whom have all booked their berths with ease.

 With Penang losing 1-3 to Perak, it has given them no chance of making it through into the last eight, and that leaves Kedah and Sabahawks Juniors as the only two teams vying for the last slot. Kedah could have ended Sabahawks Juniors’ hope, but it didn’t materialise, as they could merely manage to settle for a one-all draw against Terengganu.

 On the other hand, the Sabahawks Juniors kept their slim hope going after blanking Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School 2-0 at the Bandar Penawar Stadium. “As I have said earlier on, we just have to win our battles. Whether we make it or otherwise, we leave it to fate to decide. But it is important for us to do our part,” said Sabahawks Juniors’ team manager Datuk Juil Nuatim when contacted yesterday.

 “We are aware that we are having an outside chance. They (Kedah) are the favourites. They have a superior goal difference over us. I think a draw would be enough to put them through when they play their last match. As for us, we must win against Sarawak at home, and must go for a big win. “Football is a funny old game, and it is worth trying and giving it a good shot against Sarawak,” said Juil.

 Negeri Sembilan moved to seventh in the 18-team standings on 53 points, while Kedah dropped to eighth on 52. Sabahawks Juniors also climbed a rung up from 10th to ninth with 50 points in the bag. Yesterday, Hafizan Jahar slotted home the opener for the Sabahawks Juniors in the 28th minute before defender Rawilson Batiul scored the second at the hour mark.

 Elsewhere, Pahang recorded the League’s biggest win after they annihilated Armed Forces 14-0. Selangor also enjoyed an easy day out by trouncing Melaka 5-1, while Johor edged Kuala Lumpur 3-1. Perlis and Kelantan played to a one-all draw while SSBJ stole all three points from Sarawak after nicking a narrow 1-0 win in Kuching. Sabah will take on Sarawak in the final League game on July 4 at home.

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