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Kedah edge Sabah 1-0
Published on: Friday, April 20, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Kedah edged Sabah 1-0 in the their President Cup Group A second round match to avenge their opening round defeat at the Likas Stadium on Thursday.

Sabah, who beat the visitors with the same score in February, were under a lot pressure from the well organised opponents especially in the first half.

Kedah were in control in the final third area and Sabah's goalkeeper Sakri Masri was kept busy and had to make several crucial saves to deny them. He was beaten once but skipper Zaki Sapri managed to clear a goal-bound ball off the line.

The only chance Sabah had in the half was from Stanley Sulong but he headed over the bar from close range.

It was a better second half performance from Sabah's players, and in the 66th minute, Ariusdius Jais, who had a clear run on goal, saw his weak shot pushed away by the Kedah goalkeeper at the far post.

He had another chance three minutes later but this time his powerful shot from outside the box was again tipped over by the goalkeeper.

The misses proved crucial as failure by the Sabah players to clear a loose ball in the 77th minute saw substitute Mohd Khairuddin Mohd Salleh unleash a grounder that beat Sakri who was unsighted for the winning goal.

Sabah's players tried to fight back after the goal but found the Kedah goalkeeper tough to beat until the final whistle.

Team manager Yassin Aman took the defeat in his stride and praised the players for their fighting spirit.

"I have to accept the loss by a very good team. It was a 50-50 game and we failed to find the net while they managed to score and that made the difference.

"We beat them in the opening round because we were more organised and today they were the better side.

I have no complaints on my players. They played well and did their best in the match and that is what I wanted to see," he said after the match.

With the loss, Sabah's lead at the top was reduced to three points. They have 27 and Kedah 24 followed by JDT III in third with 21.

Sabah will next play Pahang here at the same venue on Monday (April 23). - GL Oh

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