Kota Kinabalu: Sabah now faces the threat of relegation after conceding their eighth game this season to Proton FC (1-0) at the Likas Stadium here Friday.
The loss meant that the Rhinos remained fourth from the bottom in the Premier League, the furthest down the standings they have been so far this season.
Rhinos Team Manager, Rahman Zakaria, who was evidently disheartened by the loss said that the team failed to perform their best and missed several gifted opportunities to score goals.
“We didn’t play well at all against Proton and were punished after missing several golden opportunities that could have won us the game.
“Zaykiel had an open chance having only the keeper to beat but blew the chance when he shot wide. And in the second half, it seemed our boys lost their focus and slacked in defence, which allowed Proton to score their goal,” said Rahman.
Md Khairul Akhyar Husain was the hero for Proton when he beat Rhino’s skipper Rosdin Wasli in defence, to easily slot past keeper Harold John in the 64th minute.
Local fans who turned up for the match would probably agree that they deserved the loss, but could also agree that some poor referee decisions may have robbed their team’s chance of winning the game.
Rahman also agreed that the match official that night made some poor decisions.
“I admit the team played poorly in the match but there were several incidences where I felt the referee made poor decisions. Had those decisions been made in our favour, the outcome could have been different.
“There should have been a penalty in the second half when Zaykiel was brought down in the box, but surprisingly the referee didn’t award it.
“But I don’t blame the referee entirely for our loss. I do admit that we played poorly. In fact both teams played poorly,” said Rahman.
Despite the poor performance, Rahman remains confident about his team.
He believes his boys can still come up with something in the remaining matches to pull them away from the relegation trapdoor.
He insists that there is still time for redemption and is hopeful it would come in their next home game against Shahzan Muda next Friday.
“I don’t want to blame the players for the defeats, I still think they are a good team and can do something positive in the remaining matches.
“I hope they can come up with a more convincing performance next week to steer us clear from relegation,” he said.