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Sabah denied a winning start
Published on: Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah football team were denied a winning start by Melaka after they only managed a 2-2 draw in their opening Sukma Group C match at Parit Buntar Mini Stadium Sunday night.

The synthetic pitch seemed to affect the Sabah players more at the start as they fell behind as early as in the 15th minute when Nur Afzar Fikri Azhar scored the opener for Melaka.

Sabah's players gradually came into the game after the early setback, and in the 28th minute, Ariusduis Jais who also scored in the opening match in the previous Sukma Games in Kuching netted the equaliser and then put Sabah in the lead with his second in the 53rd minute.

Despite their dominance, the team were unable to find another goal, and with 15 minutes to go before the full time whistle, Melaka found the equaliser against the run of play with their only chance in the second half through Faizal Talib to deny Sabah a winning start.

Despite the draw, team manager Benedict Asmat was pleased with the performance of the players.

"Overall, it was a good game from the players. The second goal conceded was rather unfortunate but I am sure the coaches will work with the players to rectify it and I believe the players will also learn from the experience as well," he said.

Coach Johnny Dominicus also agreed with the manager that the players performed up to the mark in that match.

"I have to agree that the players played well although they had some problems with the pitch earlier on. They were good offensively and were in control. The second goal could have been avoided but the team will learn from that costly mistake. I am sure they will bounce back from the disappointment in the next game."

Sabah will play their next game against Penang at the same venue on September 13.

Meanwhile, the men's badminton team suffered a loss in their second Group B match against Penang at the Perak Badminton Arena on Monday.

The team who edged Terengganu 3-2 in their opening match on Sunday were demolished 5-0 by their much stronger opponents and all the players were beaten in straight sets.

They will next take on Federal Territory in the final group match tomorrow (Wednesday) and a win will see them progress to the next round.

The women's team on the other hand, are out of contention with their 5-0 loss to hosts Perak on Monday. It was their third lose in Group A following their two narrow 2-3 defeats to Penang and Johor respectively on Sunday.

Their final match is against Kedah this morning starting at 9am.


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