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Juniors deliver full points

23rd April, 2019


KOTA KINABALU: Despite playing without their head coach Justin Ganai on the sideline, Tambadau Juniors put up a convincing show as they blanked PJ City FC 2-0 in a President’s Cup tie at the Likas Stadium yesterday.

Justin could not make it to the match after being hospitalised late Sunday. He collapsed after clashing with a player during a training drill on the eve of the tie.

However, it is believed that he is in stable condition but being held back at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital II for further observation.

But with or without Justin, Tambadau Juniors meant business as they humbled their visiting opponents, who had gone into the tie sitting second in the 10-team Group A standings.

Captain Mohd Aidil Safee and flanker Zulkifly Harun struck a goal each in either side of the tie to see Tambadau Juniors made a quick rebound from their 2-4 away defeat to Johor Darul Ta’zim III last week.

Defender Gerard Gadit could have put the hosts into the lead inside the first nine minutes of the tie, but only to see his point-blank header from six yards out sail above the crossbar.

It started from a corner kick taken by Ariusdius Jais where the ball found the former national Under-19 player left unmarked, unfortunately, he squandered the golden opportunity.

In the 12th minute, Tambadau Juniors were not to be denied from taking the lead when the influential midfielder Aidil picked up a loose ball during a goalmouth melee before unleashing a low drive from close range that defeated the hapless PJ City FC custodian Muhammad Aqil Abdul Razak.

Tambadau Juniors continued to dictate play, but considered themselves lucky to have gone into the half-time break taking a slender 1-0 lead as in the dying seconds of the opening half, Devraj A/L Mogan, after beating an offside trap only had Tambadau Juniors’ keeper Joslan Aping to beat, but blasted his shot from just outside the six-yard box over the bar.

After the break, Tambadau Juniors continued their momentum and managed to extend their lead when Zulkifly scored the second from the spot.

The hosts were given the spot kick after speeding striker Ariusdius was brought down inside the penalty box. This was Tambadau Juniors only third win of the season after opening their campaign with two defeats before registering two consecutive victories, followed by two consecutive draws prior to the defeat to JDT III.

Assistant team manager Jainin Tinin when met after the match was obviously happy with the points. He said this was a well deserved win while hoping that the team will continue to produce this kind of result.

“I can see that the team put up a better show in the sense that they displayed better teamwork and can build up the game and I’m satisfied with their performance,” said Jainin, who is a former state player.

However, he added that there is still room for improvement, particularly in their man to man marking.

“We were nearly punished due to our poor marking late in the first half where we presented them with a golden opportunity. Fortunately for us, he (Devraj) blasted the ball above the crossbar,” he said.

With the win, Tambadau Juniors climbed a rung up to seventh in the 10-team standings with 11 points. They are trailing by two points from Pahang, who occupy the last quarter-finals spot.

Next, Tambadau Juniors will take on Selangor United FC away on April 29.

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