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Monday, April 22, 2019

Juniors romp to 7-1 win

Daily Express

By: GL Oh

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Under-19 squad produced their best attacking play yet to thrash Penang 7-1 in the Group B Youth Cup tie at Penampang Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The team, who were the group whipping boys before the match with 21 goals conceded and only six goals scored from eight matches played, finally came good with Sharizan Saidin opening the scoring in the 27th minute followed by Ahmad Irwanto Rusli’s strike in the 40th minute to take a 2-0 lead at half time.

The visitors, who had thrashed Perak 4-1 in the previous game, found themselves in the receiving end as Billyton Vun’s boys scored almost at will in the second half. Hizaz Lokman extended the team’s lead in the 52nd minute but it was immediately cancelled out by Daniel Irfan Mohd Nadzri three minutes later. However, within two minutes Hizaz struck again to regain the three-goal advantage before Rozacklye Yanam made it 5-1 in the 61st minute.

Nasip Mohd Zain then added another two in the 64th and 72nd minutes to register Sabah biggest win in the competition to date. Coach Billyton, who saw his team struggle to score goals since the start of the season, was overjoyed with the boys. “I am very happy with the team today. This week we worked a lot on the team’s speed endurance and also drilled on their transition from defending to attacking.

“Today it worked and they managed to score two goals in the first half that helped their morale in the second half but I did not expect 7-1 score-line honestly. “This team has the potential but if the players want to make a strong presence, they need to learn how to cope with pressure during the game,” he said after the match. He also said most of the players who started the match were from the substitutes bench in previous games.

“We did not utilise them early on because they had to start from the bench to get them to adapt to the match condition in stages, otherwise a bad outing may affect their confidence for the rest of season which I wanted to avoid. “Our defence was good today and we were unlucky in the previous games when we finally had the right combination, a few players got suspended and the loss of momentum affected the team as a result.

“Chemistry in defending is very important and today they worked very well as a team which was found lacking in the past. “The team are still a work in progress and the players still need to work on their consistency,” he added. Meanwhile, they will next play Pahang at Stadium UIA Indera Mahkota in Kuantan next Sunday (April 28).
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