Rhinos yet to discover winning touch

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah are not about to press the panic button as yet despite picking up a mere one point from a possible nine in their Premier League challenge thus far.

Rahman Zakaria said it is still early days in the season, and there is no reason to be in a panic state, although he admitted they need to end the rot immediately.

Sabah kicked off their challenge with a two-all draw against Selangor PKNS at a home match last month before being humbled 1-0 by Kuala Lumpur in their first away tie on Tuesday.

And on Friday, new League leaders Armed Forces handed them their first home defeat after losing 1-0.

But Rahman said it is only a matter of time before the Rhinos find their winning rhythm.

“In the last three games, we have been playing quite well. I think we could have won any one of the games including the one against the Armed Forces.

“We are not trying to make any excuses, but unfortunately luck was shying away from the team,” the Rhinos’ team manager said.

“For instance, against Selangor PKNS, we were leading 2-0, but only to find ourselves squandering the lead that eventually saw us settling for a draw.

“And against Armed Forces, we had enough chances to win the game, but unfortunately we failed to convert any of those chances, and instead we conceded a sloppy goal.

“Nevertheless, I’m still convinced that we will be able to make a comeback. What is important now is for the players to maintain the hard work and try to improve.

“After three games, we now more or less know our weakness, and we will try to rectify them before our next game against Kuala Muda Naza next week.

Against Armed Forces, Sabah looked to be a better side, but it was the visitors who had the first chance in the game through Stanley James Batang’s header in the ninth minute.

And it was fortunate for Sabah his close-range header off a free-kick taken by Mohd Hazrol Abu Hassan went wide.

Sabah’s best chance of the first half came in the 21st minute, but Charles Obi’s header from the far post went straight to the keeper.

After the break, Namibian striker Paulus Shitaleni Shipanga was the culprit when he squandered a golden opportunity for Sabah to take the lead.

Obi managed to feed him the ball for him to go one on one with the keeper inside the penalty box, but unfortunately Paulus’ attempt was palmed away by the keeper.

The defeat left Sabah languishing in eighth in the 11-team standings while for Armed Forces, they unseated Kuala Lumpur from the top spot on better goal difference as both teams are level on seven points.

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