Mar 19, 2013

Piala Presiden: Sabah 1-1 Pulau Pinang 18 Mac 2013

Hard Luck!
New Sabah Times
KOTA KINABALU: It was a luckless day for Sabahawks Juniors as they had to settle for a one-all draw against Penang in a President’s Cup challenge at the Likas Stadium yesterday.

They had six attempts inside three minutes in the closing period of the tie, but none found the net.

Of the many chances, they hit the goalpost twice, and one was cleared off the line by the opponent’s player while the rest were saved by the keeper.

On another day, any of those attempts should have been the catalyst for victory as it could have gone into the back of the opponent’s net, but not this time, as lady luck seemed to shy away from the team that has gone five matches without a win since their slim 1-0 victory over Police on February 25.

Striker Mohamad Amer gave the visitors a 30th-minute lead with a thunderous effort from inside the box that left Sabahawks Juniors’ custodian Robson Rendy Rining hapless.

But it only took the host four minutes to draw level when Mohd Alfian Jamil’s powerful header from a corner taken by Sabri Sahar went straight into the back of the net.

This was the Sabahawks Juniors’ first goal in five matches.

“I’m satisfied with the effort given by the players. As you can see, they have tried really hard to win the match. Unfortunately, we only managed to settle for a draw.

“But when you look at the chances that we created late on, the game could have been ours had any of those chances go in. But I guess we were a little bit unlucky for not taking all the three points.

“Having said that, credit should be given to Penang, as they put up a pretty good fight, and could have won the match too,” said Sabahawks Juniors team manager Datuk Juil Nuatim before insisting that the match was an equally contested tie.

“The good thing is that we finally managed to score a goal, and I hope more will come after this,” he added.

The fast-paced tie saw both sides trying to get the better of each other in the opening half. And when the visitors managed to break the deadlock, the host equalised almost immediately.

After the break, Sabahawks Juniors were presented with the first opportunity of the half when Sabri found space inside the penalty box, but unfortunately, the midfielder blasted wide in the 50th minute.

As the match headed for regulation time, it got more exciting as both sides went for broke in search of the winner.

It was Penang who had the first opportunity to increase the lead. It happened in the 84th minute when Mohd Amirul Hafizi found himself left unmarked at the far post, but the alert Robson saved Sabahawks Juniors from the blushes as he blocked the former’s attempt from inside the six-yard box.

Soon after, it was the host who were close to scoring their second, but Fread Filemon Saih saw his 30-metre long range attempt tipped over the bar for a corner by the Penang custodian.

From the ensuing corner, Fread was again denied the goal, as his shot from inside the box was cleared off the line by a Penang defender.

Not long after, Eyo had only the keeper to beat, and despite already defeating the custodian, he haplessly saw his attempt hit the goalpost before it was cleared out of play. Not long after, Eyo saw his attempt blocked by the keeper in a one-on-one situation.

And Eyo still managed to pick up the rebound, but unfortunately, it went inches wide. Then it was skipper Dendy Lowa who saw his attempt from the edge of the box go just wide.

This was the team’s sixth draw after 11 matches into the season. The other matches saw them win thrice and lose twice.

They take on Perlis in their next fixture away next Monday.

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