Sabah battle  back to draw
Published on: Friday, April 12, 2019
By: GL Oh

KOTA KINABALU: The State President Cup squad came from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with Selangor in their Group A clash at Likas Stadium on Thursday.

The opening 45 minutes was a dull affair with no clear chances created by both teams.

The match only came alive in the second half after the visitors’ Saiful Iskandar Adha Saiful Azlan scored the opener in the 51st minute.

With the Sabah players still in shock, they added another to extend their lead through Kugan Dhevarajan from the penalty spot.

Sabah’s response was swift and they mounted an immediate attack on Selangor territory and in a goalmouth melee, Erick Odo slotted in a goal to reduce the deficit.

It lifted the players’ confidence and they had two missed opportunities to score, with the first from Zulkifly Haruan who dribbled past two defenders into the box but his shot was turned away by the keeper.

The second was by Ariusdius Jais who somehow saw his strike in front of goal miss the target.

However, their persistence to find the equaliser finally paid off in the 75th minute when Suhaizan Nazmie Etin who had only just come on to replace Erick scored with his first touch of the ball.

As they tried to find the winner after the goal, disaster struck when Mohd Izzat Aziz was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card of the match.

The team also suffered an early blow when striker Faizulnizam Aziz was stretchered off with a suspected fractured shoulder in the seventh minute.

Despite missing the chance to become the first team to beat Selangor this season, coach Justin Ganai was very pleased with the performance of his players.

“I am really proud of the players today. They displayed their never-say-die character even when they were two goals down.

“I wanted them to show me how they stood against one of the top teams this season and their performance today indicated that we are almost at par with them.

“What the team needs now is consistency. If they can maintain that and are able to improve on their finishing, the team can go far this season,” he said.


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