Feb 1, 2013

President Cup: Sabah vs Melaka 1-1

Sabah, Melaka share points
New Sabah Times - 1 Feb 2013
KOTA KINABALU: Sabahawks Juniors kicked off their President’s Cup challenge 2013 on a modest note after being held to a one-all draw by Melaka at the Likas Stadium yesterday.

The hosts must be cursing their luck after squandering the golden opportunity of taking all the three points in the dying seconds and no thanks to a blatant miss by substitute Fread Filemon Saih.

The midfielder ballooned the ball above the crossbar despite only having the Melaka keeper Abdul Aziz to beat from six yards out after which the match official blew for the final whistle.

The visiting Melaka drew first blood in the 69th minute through Nazmee Ari’s dipping shot from about 30 metres before Didie Arizal Ibrahim equalised for Sabahawks Juniors 10 minutes from regulation time.

A disappointed head coach Justin Ganai when met shortly after the match said: “There is a lot of room for improvement. Our combination was still not there yet, and obviously, we need to put a lot more effort into it.”

“Our midfielders also failed to create enough chances for the strikers and these are some of the areas that we will look into.

“Sabri (Sahar) did not train with us while Zul Mansshah (Aling) only joined the team yesterday as he had just returned after having a problem back home.

“Obviously, I’m not satisfied with the result because when you look at the game, we could have won it,” said Justin.

“Anyway the season is still a long way to go, and we will try to improve our game from time to time,” he added.

Team manager Juil Nuatim is also not too happy with the result, but did not complain much, insisting that the players have tried their best to win the game.

“They (Melaka) are a good side, and I think they could be one team to watch this season. Personally, I think this has been a good opener and a tough one for us, and despite dropping points, but it is better than not getting any point at all,” said Juil.

It was an equally contested tie, but the visitors had the better chances in the opening 45 minutes.

In the 12th minute, Barata Kumar seemed to have put the visitors into the lead when he unleashed a spectacular volley from about 30 metres but fortunately for Sabahawks Juniors, its custodian Endre S. Tipay was equally impressive in denying Barata the opener.

Not long after, Melaka were again denied from taking the lead with Endre blocking Jasmir’s shot from just outside the six-yard box.

After the break, Sabahawks Juniors upped their tempo and had better possession.

They were presented their first chance when Anwari Md Tajuddin saw his effort from inside the penalty box go wide.

But as they were busy with their attack, Melaka launched a lighting counter that saw Nazmee unleash a powerful dipping shot that defeated the hapless Endre.

But as the match headed for a Sabahawks Junior defeat, Sabri put Didie Arizal through, who then slotted the ball into an empty net with the Melaka keeper Abdul Aziz already beaten.

In the dying seconds, Didie fed the unmarked Fread inside the penalty box, but the latter squandered what could have been the winner for the hosts.

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