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Monday, April 22, 2019

U-19 squad ends winless streak

New Sabah Times

FINALLY … Sabah Under-19 players and officials celebrate after ending their six-match losing streak.

 KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Under-19 ended their winless streak when a superb second half performance gave them a 7 – 1 win over Penang in a goal-fest Youth Cup encounter at Penampang Stadium, near here on Sunday. The home side started the match sitting bottom of Group B with only three points collected from eight matches so far while Penang was third from bottom on seven points. Sabah controlled the match as soon as the ref blew for kick off, but they needed to wait at least 27 minutes for the opening goal, courtesy of Mohamad Sahrizan Saidin.

 They then doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Ahmad Irwanto Rusli finishing a good team play secured a comfortable lead. Sabah continued their newly discovered ruthless attacking prowess by adding a third goal in the 52nd minute when Mohd Hizaz Mohd Lokman put the ball behind the net.

 Penang managed to pull one goal back in the 55th minute through Mohd Daniel Irfan Mohd Nadzri but the host restored their three-goal advantage as Hizaz netted his second of the match to open the floodgates four minutes later. Rozacklye Yanam pounced home the fifth goal in the 61st minute to put the host in cruising mode but another brace by Mohd Nasip Mohammad Zain in the 64th and 77th minutes gave Sabah their second victory of the season.

 Head coach Billyton Vun Kit Ming was delighted with the unexpected final score as he played down a huge win before the match even started. “It was surprising to see such a huge deficit given that Penang just came back off a victory in their previous match, therefore a job well done to the players for producing a good performance so far this season. “The result meant a lot to us as a team because we are still progressing as a unit and most of the players are getting used to competitive football by now.

 “Our trial and error strategy worked wonders today (Sunday) despite having four players making their appearances for the first time this season as well as a number of Sabah’s President Cup players helping out,” he said. The former state player continues that the training menu of defensive drilling, strength, endurance as well as transition plays from defending to attacking showed vast improvements compared to previous matches.

 “Finally, we somewhat found our football style which now we need to continue to develop into a lethal weapon for the remainder of the season. “Hopefully we are able to carry over this performance into the next match as well as upcoming matches and produce beautiful football as we showed today,” he added. Billyton’s boys remained bottom in the group with six points alongside neighbour Sarawak who could only managed a 2 – 2 draw against Johor Darul Ta’zim IV (JDT IV) at home, yesterday. Sabah will travel to Kuantan for their next Youth Cup tie against Pahang at the Indera Mahkota UIA Stadium on April 28 (Sunday).
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