KOTA KINABALU: Sabah are in for a tricky trip as they take on unpredictable Pahang in a Malaysia Cup Group C tie at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan tonight.
The Rhinos are facing a possible backlash from the wounded Elephants, who were trounced 5-0 in their last match against Perak in the competition.
On the other hand, Sabah have been going great guns in the competition and remain unbeaten after three games. They won their first two matches (1-0 against Perak and 3-0 against Sarawak both at home), before holding Kedah to a one-all draw in their first game on the road.
As for Pahang they have been struggling in the competition. They kicked off their season with a scoreless draw against Police at home before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Kedah in an away battle followed by the humiliating defeat to Perak.
And another defeat could see them heading to the exit door. With this in mind, Pahang will certainly be going all out to end the rot. However, Rhinos’ team manager Rahman Zakaria thinks otherwise.
“We are going to Pahang to try and bring home all the three points and we believe we can achieve it,” Rahman said. “We are fully aware of their situation, but we will not take them for granted. We know they are going to give us a hard time, but we are ready and prepared for the game. We respect them, but we are confident and will go for the best result we can get.” Sabah’s bonus point is that they have been doing pretty well when playing against Super League outfits.
For the record, they have remained unbeaten against the so-called elite squads from the Super League. They have registered victories over Melaka (FA Cup 1-0), Perak (1-0), Sarawak (3-0) before the draw against Kedah.
And Rahman is adamant that their fine record will remain intact when the final whistle is blown tonight. “The spirit in the team is high, and all the players have shown strong commitment and dedication in training.
For tonight’s clash, Sabah will welcome back midfielder Rosdin Wasli from suspension, and he is likely to be the man at the middle of the park together with Polish striker Arkadiusz Jerzy Zarlzynski, while P. Rajes on the right and youngster Azrul Ejati Damsah on the left.
Nigerian striker Charles Obi and Salvester Sindeh would spearhead the attack with Ronny Harun, Prince Ebiagwu, Ahmad Tharmini Saiban and S. Sunder the driving force at the Rhinos backline. G. Jeevanatham would remain as the number one ball stopper.
Sabah are currently leading the pack in the group by topping the table on better goal difference than Kedah. Both teams are level on seven points followed by Perak in third with six, Police fourth (four points) and Pahang (one point).
Sarawak are languishing at the bottom with no points to show after losing their first three games.