Kota Kinabalu: Sabah defeated Johor 3-1 with goals from veteran Zainizam Mazlan and one from Farid Ideris at the Likas Stadium on Tuesday night. The win maintained Sabah’s unbeaten run in the Malaysia Cup group matches after three games with two wins and a draw.
Sabah again started the match brightly as they attacked the Johor goal at will in the opening period.
But their strike force was unable to shoot on target and it was left to Zainizam in the 9th minute to create the opening goal when his cross was initially saved by Johor goalkeeper Mohd Amirul but he only managed to lay the ball straight to the path of Farid Ideris and the striker made no mistake with his grounder to put Sabah one up.
The first twenty minutes was all Sabah as they constantly tore apart the Johor defence but poor finishing again let down the team.
The home team made the same mistakes in the 20th minute as they did on Saturday when a lapse of concentration allowed Johor to score the equaliser against the run of play.
Sabah conceded it’s first corner and Mohd Azuwad who received the ball managed to have a time and space to shoot past the hapless Sabah keeper Azizon Abdul Kadir.
The goal lifted the Johor team’s spirit as they began to find space to attack Sabah’s goal.
However, Zainizam managed to calm the Sabah nerves when he scored off the rebound after his first shot hit the upright. It was a good work done by Mafry Balang who brilliantly escaped his marker to burst into the penalty box to lay the ball to Zainizam.
Sabah started the second period as they did in the first half and they were in control of the match but again failed to take advantage of their chances.
Again Zainzam came into the picture in the 54th minute as he brilliantly turned and shot a screamer past the opposing keeper just outside the box to icrease Sabah’s lead.
Sabah has several chances after that to increase the lead but failed to convert any.
Sabah’s next match will be against Perak away on September 17.