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Rhinos finally beat UiTM
Published on: Sunday, July 16, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah ended their six-match losing streaks against UiTM by picking up a 1-0 victory over their rivals at the UiTM Stadium, Friday night.

The Rhinos produced one of their better displays under coach Jelius Ating to finally get one over the team that they last beat on Feb 14, 2014.

The winning goal was scored by newly signed Serbian Rodoljub Paunovic who opened his account for the team with a header from a free kick taken by Azizzan Nordin in the 69th minute.

The win was a welcome relief for Jelius after the embarrassing 1-3 home defeat by PKNP here on Monday night.

"It was good to see the players bounced back and beat their bogey team in the process. I always have faith in them despite the poor performance on Monday," he said, Saturday.

"They played well last night apart from the opening minutes where UiTM missed a great chance to take the lead.

Overall, they defended well as a team and they were more aggressive than their opponents.

"They didn't give any space for their opponents to play their usual game and restricted them to playing long balls into the box which was easily handled by our defenders."

The coach said there was no pressure for the players even though the team had failed to get a point from UiTM in their last six meetings.

"I trusted my players and their capabilities. I told them before the game to believe in themselves.

I also told them if UiTM could beat them in Likas then they could also do the same to UiTM in their home ground, and I am really happy for them to achieve that."

However, the coach said there are still hard work ahead for the team and the players need to be more compact in defending and more creative and aggressive when they have the ball to mount attacking moves.

On chances of the team to remain in the Premier League next season, Jelius said the team should be safe if they play in the remaining matches as they did on Friday night.

"As far as I am concerned, the team will have no problem staying in the Premier League if they can play like they did last night.

"It is now up to the players whether they have the right attitude and determination to do it or not."

With the win on Friday, Sabah have climbed up one place to eighth with 17 points, one point ahead of Kuantan FA.

Their next match is against MISC MIFA on Friday (July 21) here at the Likas Stadium. - GL Oh

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