Source : New SabahTimes

  6th January, 2008

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah slipped to third in the Premier League standings after the one-all draw against league leaders Johor Pasir Gudang on Friday, but Rahman Zakaria is not a worried man!

While disappointed the team failed to get full points at their own backyard, the Rhinos’ team manager said he was delighted with the fighting spirit shown by the players.

“They never showed any signs of giving up. They fought until the end. This is the kind of fighting spirit we want in the team,” said Rahman.

Sabah were trailing to a third-minute goal by Mohd Ibrahim Ismail, but second-half substitute Salvester Sindeh saved them the blushes by nodding home the equaliser two minutes from time.

“We had enough chances to win the game, but unfortunately, we only managed to put one behind the net

“We had like six to seven chances with some of them hitting the goalpost and so on, and we also had a penalty wasted and a goal disallowed,” Rahman said, referring to a Bobby Gonzales penalty miss and Azrul Ejati Damsah’s goal which was disallowed.

“I don’t understand why the referee disallowed the goal. First he blew for the goal, but suddenly he changed his mind when he saw the linesman raise his flag. At first even the linesman said it was a goal, and we are surprised he changed his mind.

“After the game we approached the officials and we were told that the goal was disallowed for handball. But when we asked them who the offender was, he (referee) couldn’t give us any name.

“If a Johor player was responsible then it should have been a penalty because Azrul definitely did not commit any foul or handball. We are very disappointed with his decision,” said Rahman.

On Bobby’s penalty miss, Rahman said it could happen to any player.

“It can happen to any player, so really there’s nothing much one can do about it,” he said.

Sabah were rewarded with the spot kick after Chow Chee Wing was fouled inside the box.

“Anyway, I’m still pleased with the way the players took the game. They showed quality and high spirit. It’s just unfortunate that we could not convert the many chances we had,” said Rahman.

With the result, Sabah dropped to third in the standings on eight points, while Johor Pasir Gudang remain at the top on 10, followed by Kuala Muda Naza on nine.

Sabah’s next game is an away battle against Kelantan on Jan 11, before taking on Kuala Muda Naza at home on Jan 14.

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