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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Uphill for Sabah after red cards

New Sabah Times

LABUAN: Sabah seemed to have chosen the hard way out in search for a place in the final at the 5th Borneo Games football event after succumbing to a 0-1 defeat to Brunei in a match marred by four red cards incident played at the Labuan Sports Complex here yesterday. Two Sabah players were given the expulsion while Brunei had one player plus an official given the marching order.

 It all started during a Sabah corner before things turned ugly when a Sabah player was robustly tackled from behind. Things could have turned for the worst, but fortunately match official Sitarajanan of Labuan managed to calm things down before showing his authority by red-carding the foursome. The two Sabah players red-carded are defender Rawilson Batiul and Labuan-born flanker Awangku Mohd Hamizan.

 That left Sabah playing with nine men for the rest of the second half against 10-men Brunei, who had taken a first half lead after capitalising on a defensive blunder by the Sabah defence. Team manager Alijus Hj Sipil said this is quite a setback for his side having had lost one of the key player (Rawilson), who will be suspended for at least one game.

 “It is a pity that we could not get the points because should we put our chances behind the net, we could have at least settled for a draw. Now, we are left with no other option, but to try to win our two remaining fixtures against Labuan and defending champion East Kalimantan,” said Alijus when met after the match.

 “Nevertheless, we have to quickly forget what is happening today, and instead focus on our remaining games because our chance of making the final is still wide open. “The only thing we have to do now is to do well in our remaining matches,” said Alijus. Sabah will continue their challenge by taking on the host at the Labuan town field at 4pm before taking on East Kalimantan in morning match at the same venue on Friday. Sabah won their opening match by edging Sarawak 2-1 on Monday.

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