Source : New SabahTimes.
KOTA KINABALU: The junior Rhinos notched their sixth win of the season after defeating Johor 2-1 in a President’s Cup Group B challenge at the Likas Stadium yesterday.
Despite not having the services of its two regular goalkeepers in Irwan Jamil and Harold John, as well as influential midfielder Mohd Radzi Hussin, the Jose Luis boys played their best home match thus far.
The trio have been promoted to the senior side, and it looks like the junior Rhinos are unlikely to have them in the team at least for the next several matches.
The junior Rhinos started off well by taking a sixth-minute lead through a header from Jack Emin off a corner taken by David Johney.
The lanky defender managed to squeeze through two Johor defenders to head home the opener.
After that the junior Rhinos had several attempts at Johor’s goalmouth with the best one in the 38th minute when a thunderous Helmi Huzzaimi Goustin shot from just outside the box hit the crossbar with the Johor keeper Mohd Fazli Paat already beaten.
Safar Mohamad could have extended the lead five minutes later when Helmi fed him with a perfect cross.
However, despite being unmarked and with only the keeper to beat, he unleashed a shot that sailed above the crossbar.
After the miss, things could have been on level terms in the 57th minute when Sabah defender Ebby Roy Raimon was caught for handsball inside the penalty box.
The match official pointed to the spot, but Under-19 goalkeeper Salawi Md Jasad saved the day for Sabah as he blocked Mohd Fisol’s spot kick.
Soon after the penalty miss, Johor squandered another opportunity to score the equaliser as Mohd Suffian Sariman’s close range attempt went wide.
But from then on, it was all Sabah’s game as they launched attack after attack at Johor’s goalmouth.
And Safar finally made amends for his earlier miss when he slotted home a grounder to put Sabah 2-0 up after 77 minutes of play.
In the 83rd minute, it could have been 3-0 for Sabah, but unfortunately Ishak Alias’s close-range attempt was palmed away for a fruitless corner by Mohd Fazli.
In injury time, Mohd Fisol scored the consolation goal for Johor from a set piece.
The victory puts Sabah among the top three in the group as they have now accumulated a total of 21 points from six wins, three draws and two defeats (from 11 games).
They will take on Pahang at the same venue on Saturday.