KOTA KINABALU: Sabah moved three rungs up from 11th to eighth in the standings after relegating their Borneo rivals Sarawak to the FAM Cup League following their 4-1 victory in the Borneo derby clash at the Likas Stadium on Friday.
With the results of the other matches favouring the Rhinos, it helped them to get out of the bottom three in the 13-team standings.
Team manager Rahman Zakaria was delighted to see that his side are now finally safe from relegation, attributing their victory to the hard work done by the players.
“Now we finally can take a sigh of relief as we don’t need to worry about being relegated. So what we have to do now is to stay focused and try to make a best possible finish,” said Rahman.
At the same time, he added that they must start to prepare for the Malaysia Cup.
Sabah’s victory over Sarawak was their fifth this season, and second under stand-in coach Mohd Asyraaf Fong Abdullah.
They have now collected 21 points from 21 matches to stay ahead of Shahzan Muda (20 points), Armed Forces (20), Melaka (18 points) and two relegated teams, Sarawak and SDM Kepala Batas.
In the game against Sarawak, Zaykiel Leong scored twice for Sabah while Azrul Ejati Damsah found the net once while the fourth goal was an own goal by Sarawak’s Morris Jagan.
Sarawak’s consolation was netted by Md Hendra Bakri.
And the match has its own significance, as barely 13 minutes into the match it had to be stopped due to a power cut which signalled a black memory for Sarawak, and shortly after a heavy downpour blessed Sabah’s survival in the Premier League.
Sabah take on Kuala Lumpur away on Monday before taking on Armed Forces at home. They would complete their fixtures against T-Team in a postponed match with a date yet to be fixed.