KUANTAN: Sabah got a point after holding Pahang to a two-all draw in a Malaysian Super League tie at the Darul Makmur Stadium here last night.
It could have been all three points for the Gary Phillips’ boys, but they had to settle for one after squandering a two-goal lead.
Striker Leopold Alfonso Otong scored in his season debut after coming in for Zainizam Marjan who limped out, believed to be suffering from a hamstring injury.
Razlan Oto had put Sabah in front in the 30th minute by nodding home the opener with an easy grounder from outside the six-yard box before Leopold put them 2-0 up by defeating Pahang’s custodian Mohd Suffian Abd Rahman in a one-on-one situation.
But it was a hell of a game for Sabah, as Pahang looked to be the dominant side.
They (Pahang) created more than enough chances to take the game into their hands, but only to see the visiting Sabah take the lead.
Azamuddin Mohd Akil and Mohd Fazli Baharuddin were both presented with golden opportunities to put their side into the lead, but they squandered them.
Azamuddin saw his attempt from the six-yard box go wide while Mohd Fazli’s header from close range hit the side netting before Razlan stunned the home fans with the opener.
Sabah started the second half confidently, but it was Pahang that had the first shot at goal, but Azizon Abd Kadir was in his element to deny Pahang from scoring the equaliser when he alertly cleared the ball away from an attempt headed by R. Zurendran for a fruitless corner.
Then in the 68th minute, Leopold, who came in for Zainizam earlier on, was put through by Zuraindey Jumai.
The youngster cleverly outwitted the Pahang custodian to easily slot the ball into in an empty net for Sabah’s second goal.
But Pahang reduced the deficit two minutes later through R. Surendran before Famirul Asraf scored the equaliser seven minutes later when his attempt from 25 metres slightly deflected off a Sabah defender and went into the back of the net.
From then on, Pahang launched waves of attacks, and if not for Azizon, Sabah could have returned home empty handed.
Azizon made at least three or four superb saves to eventually help his side earn the precious point that could see them move out of the relegation zone should other results elsewhere favour them.
Next Sabah take on Harimau Muda A at home on March 12.