Rhinos look to break UiTM jinx
Published on: Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Rhinos face a tricky test as they search for their first home win of the season against UiTM in the Premier League match at the Likas Stadium tonight (Tuesday) at 8.15pm.The team are under immense pressure and cannot afford to drop points as they have only three points to show after five matches and it was collected in their away 3-1 win over Perlis, the only team currently one place below them in the table standing.

However, to do that they have to break the jinx as they failed to beat the visitors since the 1-0 away victory back in February 2014.

Since then they have lost five times including the 1-2 home defeat last season.

The cancellation of the match against MISC-MIFA last Friday hopefully will benefit the players as they were given more rest than their opponents tonight.

Despite the losing streak against the visiting team, Sabah Rhinos still stand a very good chance to turn the table if the players can play like they did against JDT II in their last match.

The players produced one of their better performance this season against JDT II where they lost 1-0, and it was poor finishing that let them down despite numerous chances created.

Goals seem hard to come by for the team this season and they need to strike early tonight, failure to do so may lead to another collapse in the suspect backline.

However, their task is made further difficult with the expected absence of main striker Jonathan Behe who has still not fully recovered from his hamstring injury.

Fellow foreign import Sofiane Choubani has so far failed to shine after coming back from injury and time is running out for him to convince the fans that he can deliver.

Last season's top scorer Maxsius Musa is now shouldering the team's hope and he must find ways to add to his two-goal tally this season.

Meanwhile, Azizan Nordin is the other first team player who is still injured and he is definitely not in the team list.

Coach Steve Vilmiaire may have another headache in the goalkeeping department after the heroic display by Rozaimie Rohmi in Johor.

The number one choice was heavily criticised by fans in their embarrassing 2-5 defeat to ATM in their first home match here earlier this month and he was subsequently replaced by Robson Rening in the 1-0 FA Cup win over UKM.

Despite the commendable performance by Robson, the coach may not risk putting him in tonight's match with foreign imports which may pose problems for the untested keeper.

Skipper Igor Cerina as usual will likely start in his central defensive role with Rawilson Batuil but the bench may hope that he can also deliver in the striker role by scoring the goal as he did against the same team last season.

With so much at stake, Steve is unlikely to take the risk and he may opt for the same starting line-up against JDT II with Rozaimie in goal, Alto Linus, Igor, Rawilson and Rabdy Baruh in defence.

The midfield will feature Sabri Sahar, Ricco Nigel Milus, Umareng Bacok and Masaya Jitozono while the Maxsius will spearhead the attack supported by Sofiane. - GL Oh


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