Misfiring Sabah suffered their first defeat under head coach Justin Ganai, going down 0-2 to Harimau Muda A here last night.
Playing in front of what was the biggest crowd at the Likas Stadium this season, Sabah just could not turn it into victory as striker Izzaq Faris Ramlan put Sabah to the sword with two goals.
The teams went into the game on the offensive mood and after two early misses at either end of the pitch, Zainizam Marjan’s headed effort was just wide of the target after a good cross from Rozaimi Abd Rahman.
The visiting team too were unlucky shortly after when the unmarked Abdul Shukor Jusoh’s effort was destined for the goalmouth until the interference from Mohd Reithuddin Emran who diverted the ball to safety.
In the 21st minute, Zainizam was guilty of missing the best chance of the half when he was put through on goal only to shoot straight at the goalkeeper.
Izzaq Farris Ramlan then put Harimau Muda A in the lead when he headed past goalie Azizon Abd Kadir in the 34th minute.
Sabah could have fallen behind further had Azizon not pulled off two outstanding saves just before the half time whistle to keep the scoreline within the homesters reach.
Harimau Muda A made the first substitution at the start of the second half bringing in Nazirul Naim Che Hashim for Mohd Affize Faizal Mamat but it was Sabah who had the first chance.
Zainizam volleyed from just outside the box but Zamir was not required to make a save.
However, Sabah could not build on that as Harimau Muda A took control of the match that forced head coach Justin Ganai into making substitutions, bringing in Sabri Sahar for Radzi Mohd Hussin and Razlan Oto for Md Farid Ideris.
The move nearly paid off as the fresh legs enabled Sabah to push forward and on one occasion Rozaimi was unlucky to see his goal-bound shot saved by Zamir.
Local import K. Thanaraj, who was initially dropped before being reinstated after making an appeal, was introduced for Rozaimi for his first appearance this season.
Thanaraj’s debut however was greeted with Harimau Muda A’s second goal through Izzaq in the 79th minute, taking advantage of the off-balance Reithuddin to slot into an empty net.