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We simply lacked match fitness: Ong
Published on: Thursday, February 15, 2024
By: GL Oh
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We simply lacked match fitness: Ong
“It was never going to be easy but the boys tried their best to fight back. Unfortunately, tiredness also crept in as the match progressed and mistakes were made to concede the third goal,” Ong said.
Kota Kinabalu: Datuk Ong Kim Swee admitted that Macarthur FC were simply better than Sabah FC in the AFC Cup Asean zone semi-final tie at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Tuesday.

The Rhinos head coach refused to blame the players for the humbling 0-3 defeat to the Sydney outfit who were unbeaten in their last seven games in the A-League.

“As I said before the match, we were simply short of match fitness. Despite that, the players showed a very good attitude and we managed to keep them at bay for a long period.

“We executed our plan very well at the start until the first goal conceded as a result of losing concentration.

“By letting in the goal towards the end of the first half followed by the second at the start of the second half definitely spoiled our rhythm.

“It was never going to be easy but the boys tried their best to fight back. Unfortunately, tiredness also crept in as the match progressed and mistakes were made to concede the third goal,” he said.

He believed the team could have performed better if they had played more competitive games before the tie.

“Our last competitive match was in December last year and the off season definitely did not help us in our preparation for this match.

“Macarthur FC are a quality side and have players who can come in to change the game and at the same time, we also failed to convert our chances during the game and that’s one of the reasons we struggled.

“If we had one or more competitive matches for the boys, I believe we can give a better fight and may even get something out of it.”

He hoped the players would learn from the experience and improve as a team for the new Super League season scheduled to start in May.

“It was a good learning experience for our boys to know how to cope in a high intensity game and it showed that we need strong support from the management.”

He added that the team will now take a break before regrouping for the preseason later and he is looking forward to the new Super League season as well as the Asean Club Championship which Sabah FC were nominated by MFL to compete in. 

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