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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Class Keningau take the crown

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Classy Keningau won the inaugural Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman Cup Inter-District Football Tournament with a 4-2 win over Tawau in the final held at the Likas Stadium on Friday. The interior champion who thrashed Kinabatangan 7-0 in the semi-final a day earlier overcame a shocking start and bounced back to win the title in style.

 The team featured several President Cup players and found themselves a goal down barely into the 3rd minute when Mohd Arfiyansah Abd. Jafar fired home a free kick from 20m to give Tawau the lead. The goal spring the game to life as Keningau mounted several dangerous moves into their opponents' half and their relentless pressure finally paid off when President Cupper Eyo Mathew netted the equaliser after he capitalised on a poor defence to slot home from close range in the 18th minute.

 Dan Joseph then added the second five minutes later after he was given the space to dance past the entire Tawau's defence before rounding the keeper to tap home and took the lead. Another President Cup player Rexjeson Pitrus who scored four goals against Kinabatangan on Thursday then put his team 3-1 up with another cool finish in the 29th minute and Eyo could have added his second late in the match but saw his shot struck the post instead.

 The Tawau team who were in excellent form earlier in the tournament, was a complete let down in the final as the players were constantly losing the balls to their opposite numbers easily throughout the first period. Keningau continued where they had left off in the second half and Rexjeson put his name on the scoresheet again with another strike in the 57th minute.

 With a three-goal cushion, Keningau decided to slow down the game and Tawau were given more space to run at their opponents but they failed to take advantage of their chances with some wayward shootings. It was not until the 74th minute that M. Azwan finally found the net for Tawau but it proved to be too late to mount a comeback and the team had to settle for runner-up spot.

 Keningau's head coach Well Apin thanked the coaches, officials as well as the fans for the support. "The players played very well today and I am very happy for the team to win the inaugural tournament." He also disclosed that the team was only able to join the competition at the last minutes due to some unforeseen circumstances and was unable to train properly with the time available.

 He added that there was also a lack of pitch in the district and they only resorted to playing friendly matches to fine-tune the team. The coach had stated earlier that they only targeted a semi-final berth and to qualify for the final was already a bonus for the team.

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