Published on: Friday, March 14, 2014
A goal each from Azli Saidi and Rusmanizam Roseland in the second half was enough for Sabah to register their second win over their opponent in four days.
However, the team whom they managed to put in four goals in the first round match was in no mood to let Sabah to have any chance of a goal fest as they played a very compact game to deny Sabah any clear chance at goal.
It was down to team manager Datuk Juil Nuantin to work his magic during the half time pep talk, and the players came out with more urgency in their play.
Within six minutes after constant pressure at their opponents' half and with Azizan Nordin pulling the strings in the engine room, a throw in from Billy Doliente evaded everybody in the box and Azli Saidi was at the right spot to head in for the opener.
The goal opened up the game and with the SSMP players trying hard to find the equaliser, Rusmanizam picked up a loose ball from the half way line before skipping past a SSMP defender to unleash a shot that was palmed away by the keeper and the rebound found his feet and he made no mistake for his second try to add to his goal tally in the season to four goals in three games.
Juil was beaming with delight after the match and happy that the team finally found their scoring touch in the last three games.
"I am very happy with the result. Seven points in the last three games is very good for us and the most important thing is that we managed to win at home."
He admitted that he was very worried in the first half with the team's insipid play and decided to have a pep talk with the players in the changing room.
"I told the players to forget about winning big and instead concentrating on winning the three points even if it is by a one goal margin and it worked!"
Coach Burhan Ajui agreed that the team played badly in the first period and he reckoned it was all down to the players failure to play their pressure game as they did on Monday.
"The SSMP players are very good at the ball and if you allow them to play their own game, you will have no chance to win the ball back "
"Sabah played better after the break as they managed to apply more pressure, resulting their opponents to make mistakes and it was a very good win by the boys in the end."
Sabah has now collected 14 points from 10 matches with three wins, five draws and two losses.
Their next game is against Pahang here at the Likas Stadium on March 20.