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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Justin blames loss on individual play

SUPER LEAGUE ACTION … Sabah’s Michael William Baird (red) challenges for the ball with a Selangor defender during their Super League clash at the Likas Stadium on Saturday.













2nd April, 2012

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah paid the price for ‘individual play’ in the one-all draw against Selangor in the Super League tie at the Likas Stadium on Saturday.

It was a tie that they could have won … with a little bit more effort, teamwork and urgency.

At times they looked rusty which was predictable as they had a two-week break and players also tended to hold the ball for too long. If only they had overcome these problems it could have been three points in the bag.

Sabah had the best of starts by taking the lead only after three minutes of play through Michael William Baird, who capitalised on a misunderstanding between the Selangor custodian G. Jeevanathan and defender Mohd Razman Roslan, before slotting home the opener.

But Selangor scored the leveller on the 59th minute after Sabah’s Alto Linus failed to clear a beautifully lopped ball, which was a little too high, from Solihin Kanasian. P. Gunalan who was lurking from behind blasted a powerful grounder that defeated the hapless Syed Adney Syed Hussien.

But despite wasted chances of claiming three points, Sabah head coach Justin Ganai said that the result was a sign of more positive things to come from his boys.

Sabah went into the clash on the back of a 3-6 thrashing by Terengganu two weeks earlier, which eventually ended their five-match unbeaten run.

Coupled with their poor record against Selangor, it was a tall order for Sabah in search for their first point against the Red Giants, after losing their last six meetings.

“It was an evenly contested match. Both teams had a great game with chances created at both ends. For Sabah, it was a good one-point considering our head-to-head record against them. We lost our last six battles, and to end the jinx is a big relief to the team,” said Justin.

“I hope this will be the start (for positive things) for us. Tonight (Saturday) we get one point and next time, hopefully, we will win,” he added.

Justin also expressed his disappointment over his team’s failure to stay focused.

“I’ve reminded the players not to lose their focus (in the second half) but it happened. It was our mistake…our backline failed to deal with a long cross into the box that resulted in the equaliser,” he said.

“On our part, we have several chances but the understanding (up-front) is still lacking. We were supposed to play as a team and pass the ball to a better-placed team-mates, it seemed the players try to go on their own. In the end, we came up with nothing,” said Justin.

The one point gained saw Sabah drop a spot to ninth in the 14-team standings level on 14 points with Sarawak in eighth place, thanks to their superior goal difference.

Selangor are sixth on 16 points while the top three remained with Kelantan 26 points followed by Lion XII FC on 23 points and Terengganu on 21 points.

“Up next will be Negeri Sembilan away (on April 7)...hopefully we have improved and much better then,” added Justin.

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