Win gives Rhinos confidence to overcome relegation hurdle


KOTA KINABALU: Rahman Zakaria hopes the 1-0 win over Melaka on Friday will bring a good omen for the Rhinos in their fight for Premier League survival.

He said the victory also provided the team the confidence and belief that they will overcome this difficult hurdle.

“Now we are six points clear of the relegation zone and I hope there will be no looking back. I want the players to keep doing the good job and not to worry too much about what is going to happen next.

“What is important for the team is to do a good job and when they do that, I’m sure we will be out of trouble sooner rather than later,” the Rhinos’ team manager said.

Rahman went on to say that although they were forced to struggle before notching the slim victory, but he was satisfied with the commitment shown by the players.

“Our youngsters are playing with confidence and it is a positive progress for the squad.

“It is also a good start for coach (stand-in) Mohd Asyraaf Fong Abdullah … I’m satisfied with the overall performance of the squad.

The match was Asyraaf’s first in charge of the senior team since he took over from Wathiq who tendered his resignation on July 1.

Wathiq’s fate will be decided when the FA holds its Supreme Council meeting soon.

“I just hope the good form will continue and that we will achieve more wins.

“Our immediate target is to distance the team from the relegation zone. Based on the team’s current form, I believe we will achieve our goal provided the players work harder.

“We will continue to make the effort to register victories be they at home or away,” he said.

Leopold Alfonso scored the only goal of the game when the up-coming attacking player scored in the 50th minute from close range with veteran striker Zainizam Marjan the creator.

Sabah could have added two more goals but Wong Sai Kong’s effort in the 27th minute and Leopold’s in the 83rd minute went straight to the visiting goalkeeper Md Jibrail Kamaron.

The victory also ensured Sabah avenged their 0-3 defeat to the same side in the first round.

However, they remain in 10th placing on 17 points – one behind Melaka who occupy the ninth spot.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Under-19 squad the Young Tigers strengthened their grip on pole position with a 1-0 win over Felda United KL, while second placed Terengganu T-Team put the pressure on them with a similar scoreline win over Kuala Lumpur.

Third placed Johor downed the Armed Forces (ATM) 2-0, while PKNS FC Selangor won 2-0 against Sarawak.

SDM Kepala Batas of Penang caused the biggest upset of the night when they beat Shahzan Muda 2-1 to register their first win of the season.

Sabah will resume their league campaign at home to PKNS FC Selangor on July 10.

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