Source : New SabahTimes
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah got off to a winning start in the Malaysia Cup Group C challenge after edging Perak 1-0 for a well deserved victory at the Likas Stadium last night.
It was Charles Obi who did the trick for the home side when he struck the solitary goal of the night six minutes after the break.
However, it was the team’s display that helped Sabah clear this first hurdle as all the 11 Rhinos on the battlefield looked really exciting.
The first half was a balanced affair with both teams hardly threatening each other’s goalmouths with Sabah being the only side that created two half chances with the first one coming in the 13th minute when Obi unleashed a grounder from inside the box which went wide.
In injury time of the first half, Chow Chee Wing tested Mohd Hamsani Ahmad. However, his close-range attempt went straight into the former national custodian’s arms.
At the start of the second half Sabah coach Drago Mamic made a tactical substitution by bringing in striker Salvester Sindeh for flanker Zulamri Muhammad.
Salvester’s introduction saw Arkadiusz Jerzy Zarlzynski playing behind Salvester and Obi. And it proved to work out well, as Sabah showed their aggressiveness when the game resumed.
Their efforts were soon rewarded when Chow Chee Wing from the left outran a Perak defender before crossing to the unmarked Obi who easily slotted home from close range.
In the 57th minute, Obi missed a sitter as his attempt sailed over the crossbar. It started from Rajes from the right, who fed Salvester. The second-half substitute then sent a perfect cross that found Obi inside the penalty box, but unfortunately he sent the ball over the crossbar to the dismay of the about 2,000 home fans, including the Sabah FA President Datuk Anifah Aman, who was watching from the grandstand.
Then it was Perak’s turn as Ahmad Shahrul Azhar unleashed a shot at Sabah’s goalmouth, but it went straight into G. Jeevanatham’s arms.
Towards the end of the game, Salvester and Arkadiusz Jerzy also could have extended Sabah’s lead.
However, Salvester saw his attempt blocked by Hamsani, while Arkadiusz Jerzy’s free-kick from 25 metres was palmed away for a fruitless corner.