KOTA KINABALU: Sabah FA Cup challenge is hanging by a thread after conceding a 0-2 defeat to Kedah in the first round of the first leg encounter at the Likas Stadium last night.
It was defensive errors that led to Sabah’s downfall as Kedah capitalised to their full advantage scoring both the goals in each half.
Azlan Ismail was left unmarked inside the penalty box to slot home the opener from close range in the 18th minute from a free-kick taken by Mohd Sabree Mat Abu. Then in the 29th minute, he could have netted his second but fortunately for Sabah his glancing header was just inches off the goalmouth.
Sabah came close to netting the equaliser off a Zainizam Marjan’s long range effort which went wide.
There were still not much scoring chances after the break as both sides tried to outwit each other where play was mostly concentrated at the centre of the field.
Despite Sabah’s Premier League tag, the game was equally contested and Mafry Balang could have levelled it for Sabah in the 86th minute only to find his close range header sail above the crossbar from a free kick taken by Azrul Ejati Damsah.
However, Kedah were deserved winners capitalizing on Sabah’s error scoring their second three minutes from end. The move started when Mohd Zamri Chin managed to steal the ball from Henry Parsi at the back before connecting it to the unmarked Saramsak A/L Kram.
The match could have been marred by a fight between the home fans and the Kedah fans. Fortunately swift action by the Police and security on duty prevented any untoward incidents.
Now Sabah is facing a mammoth task to progress further. They need to win by three clear goals when they meet again in the return leg in Alor Star on Saturday.
All they need to do is tighten the backline and find those goals.