Source : New SabahTimes
CHALLENGE … Sabah’s Charles Obi (right) fights for the ball with Melaka’s Elango as ex-Rhino midfielder Sharil Arsat looks on.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah edged Super League outfit Melaka 2-1 to book a place in the second round of the FA Cup competition.
A goal each from Charles Obi and substitute Azrul Ejati Damsah was all Sabah needed to undo their opponents, who merely managed to score the consolation in injury time.
It took Sabah five minutes to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty kick after Rosdin Wasli’s attempt hit the hand of a Melaka defender inside the box that caught the eyes of the referee Halim Abdul Hamid, who had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Obi stepped up to take the spot kick and gave Sabah the lead to the delight of the about 2,000 home fans.
Melaka had their first look at Sabah’s goal in the 22nd minute when Patrik Volf found space inside the Sabah goalmouth, but fortunately custodian G. Jeevanatham was in his element to palm the ball away for a fruitless corner.
Three minutes later, latest signing Arkadiusz Jerzy Zarlzynski or better known as Eric among his team-mates, could have extended Sabah’s lead when he cleverly intercepted the ball from a Melaka defender, but unfortunately his close-range attempt sailed over the crossbar.
Ex-Rhino Shahril Arsat almost put his side on level terms, but fortunately for Sabah his 25-metre free-kick hit the crossbar.
Then Melaka were again denied the equaliser when S. Jaya Prakash’s header hit the goalpost.
Two minutes into the second half, Ronny Harun saw his thunderous shot from 35 metres palmed away for a corner.
Then in the ensuing corner, Sabah saw their attempt cleared off the line by a Melaka player.
Obi could have hit his second in the 52nd minute. The lanky Nigerian had managed to dribble past one defender before unleashing a powerful grounder from the right side of the goalmouth. His attempt had already beaten the Melaka keeper Mohd Jibrail Kamaron, but unfortunately the ball rolled wide.
Obi had another opportunity in the 80th minute, but again, his shot went wide.
But Sabah finally managed to extend their lead when Azrul Ejati Damsah curled the second goal from inside the box after dribbling past two defenders barely after two minutes after coming in for Bobby Gonzalez.
Melaka managed to score the consolation through Richard Privitzer in injury time.