SABAH ENJOY AWAY GOAL ADVANTAGE
Sabah were denied of victory but Team Manager Rahman Zakaria believed the Rhinos have a better chance than Kuala Lumpur of progressing from the first round of the FA Cup.
After a scoreless first half, Azrul Ejati Damsah put Sabah in front in the 46th minute after picking up a clever pass from striker Zainizam Marjan. The young winger dribbled past a defender before finding the back of the net with a confident strike.
However, after leading much of the second half, Kuala Lumpur stunned Sabah with an equaliser deep into four minutes of injury time. And Rahman was unhappy with the late equaliser which he claimed had exceeded the added time.
“The referee should have blown the final whistle when the added time was up,” he said when contacted yesterday. Rahman was also disappointed with the way the referee handled the match where four Sabah players were yellow- carded and none for Kuala Lumpur, which disrupted their momentum. “We are disappointed (with the draw) but then again we scored and have the away goal advantage. “The way I see it Sabah have the chance to progress the opportunity is there for us in the next game,” he added.
Commenting further on the first leg clash at the KLFA Stadium in Cheras, Rahman said Sabah lost first choice goalkeeper Irwan Jamil to injury. “He (Irwan) decided not to return for the second half and Harold John replaced him.
“Overall, the players played alright. We need to improve on our combination and understanding in midfield though. “Kuala Lumpur dominated the area but the players worked hard. We will be ready for the return leg,” said Rahman.
Sabah will play host in the second leg of the FA Cup first round at the Likas Stadium tomorrow, Feb 3. The Rhinos won their only FA Cup title in 1994. Meanwhile, four teams are almost certain of making it to the second round with Sarawak leading the pack after thrashing the Armed Forces 6-1, Kelantan trounced Johor 4-0, Perlis outplayed Johor MBJB 4-0 and Perak defeated SDM Kepala Batas 4-1.
The other first leg results saw UPB MyTeam won 2-1 against Proton FC, Felda United beat Police 2-1, T-Team won 1-0 against Shahzan Muda, Penang won 1-0 over Johor FC, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka drew 0-0 and Pahang held Selangor PKNS 1-1. Four other teams Kedah, Selangor, Terengganu and Kuala Muda Naza received a first round bye.