Source : New SabahTimes
EXTRA THRILLER … Obi restored Sabah’s one goal lead in the 36th minute with a sizzling finish. The lanky Nigerian striker outwitted three Johor FC defenders before rounding off goalkeeper Ishak to drill home a stiff grounder.
KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos new boy Ijiebor Ativie Prince Guy may have scored in his debut for the team, but it was Charles Obi that stole the show in the 4-3 second round FA Cup victory over Johor FC on Tuesday.
The Rhinos striker-in-chief whose 117th minute strike, made sure that Sabah went through to the quarter-finals in the competition that they last won in 1995.
Both teams were tied 3-3 at full time which prompted the match to be decided in extra time.
It was Ijiebor that contributed to the Rhinos first goal when his thunderous drive deflected off Johor FC defender, Promrut Choketawee’s leg, for an own goal in the 22nd minute.
But Walter Ariel Silva levelled the score for Johor FC in the 32nd minute. And in the 36th minute Obi restored Sabah’s one goal lead with a sizzling finish.
The lanky Nigerian striker outwitted three defenders, Wan Rohaimi Wan Ismail, Promrut and Daudsu Jamaluddin before rounding off goalkeeper Yusof Ishak to drill home a stiff grounder that eventually saw Sabah taking a 2-1 half time lead.
But Fahruzzahar Ali put Johor FC on level terms again three minutes after the break before helping his side to take the lead when he netted his second in the 60th minute.
In the 72nd minute, Ijiebor’s low drive defeated Yusof for the third time in the night that eventually sent the match into extra-time.
“Although we took the lead, but we were a bit shaky in the first 30 minutes. But the players tried really hard, and after Obi scored our second, only then we were in the game.
“And we were also a bit unfortunate to concede two early goals in the second half.
“Despite trailing, the players never showed any kind of slacking or giving up and when he (Ijiebor) scored the equaliser, it was a 50-50 affair.
“But overall, I think we deserved the victory,” said the Rhinos team manager Rahman Zakaria.
For the record, Johor FC is the fifth Super League outfit the Rhinos have beaten after Melaka, whom they edged 2-1 in the first round, followed by Perak (1-0), Sarawak (3-0), and Pahang (1-0) and managed to hold Kedah to a one-all draw (all in Malaysia Cup). And the victory will be just the right tonic ahead of their clash against Premier League leaders UPB-MyTEAM.
“The victory is just what we need ahead of our big game on Friday,” Rahman said, referring to the UPB-MyTEAM clash at the Likas Stadium on Friday.
For the record, Sabah is one of the five Premier League outfits that make it into the last eight. The other teams that survived in the knockout competition are UPB-MyTEAM, Selangor PKNS, Johor PG and Kuala Muda Naza.
The other three teams are from the Super League namely Kedah, Selangor and Melaka Telekom.
UPB-MyTEAM booked the ticket after edging Negeri Sembilan NAZA 3-1 while Selangor PKNS stunned Pahang 4-2 in penalty shootout. The match ended one-all after extra time.
Johor PG also won in penalty shootout. They defeated Kelantan 5-4 after both teams ended the tie two-all after extra time.
As for Kuala Muda Naza, they trounced Shahzan Muda 5-1 while Kedah edged Perak 1-0 while Selangor defeated Armed Forces 4-1. Melaka Telekom claimed the berth with a 2-0 victory over Perlis.
The quarter-final draw will be held on May 2, the first leg will be played on May 15. And the second leg on May 29.