18th February, 2013
ACTION- PACKED … Cebagoo FC’s Rainol Masaat (centre) shadows Melaka’s Ahmad Khuzaimi.
KOTA KINABALU: FAM Cup new boys Sabah Cebagoo FC kicked off their challenge on a winning note after blanking Melaka 2-0 at the UMS Stadium yesterday.
Two first half strikes was all they needed to down their more fancied opponent.
Former State skipper Md Reithuddin Ag Emran drew first blood for the host from the spot after 24 minutes of play before Md Nizam Jifferi scored the second from a set piece late in the first half.
And it was certainly a deserved victory for the Sepanggar-based outfit as they got the better of their opponent with a spirited display.
They dominated the opening half and could have taken the lead inside the first quarter of the game but unfortunately, Gerd Smith Chin Chu’s effort was disallowed.
Md Arifyanshah Jafar supplied him with a brilliant pass before slotting home a grounder that defeated the Melaka custodian Nor Iman, but to the dismay of the more than 1000 fans, he was ruled offside.
Then lanky defender Md Reithuddin had the home fans in frenzy by converting the spot kick with ease after Md Arif Awang was brought down inside the penalty box and the hosts were gifted with the second goal in the 38th minute after Nor Iman’s blunder.
The Melaka keeper failed to make a clean catch off a freekick taken by Md Nizam. The ball slipped from his grasp before dropping it and rolled into the back of his net.
After the break, Melaka upped their tempo and enjoyed better possession of the ball, but just could not find the much needed goal.
On the other hand, Cebagoo FC stoutly defended their half, and could have extended their lead late on when Rainol Masaat’s centre for Gerd Smith, who was a fraction of a second late, saw his attempt from just outside the six-yard box blocked by a defender, for a fruitless corner.
Earlier on, Melaka through Mohd Zulfadli was close in reducing the deficit but the latter’s close range attempt was saved by the Cebagoo FC keeper Shairul Boidi.
Despite the win, Cebagoo FC head coach Razali Zinin said there is still room for improvement.
“For this opening game, it enables us to see how our system works, and overall, I think, I’m not too satisfied because there is still room for improvement,” he stressed.
“We need to continue with the hard work to build up the team. We have no stars, some of them are ‘reject’ players from the State squad and the only best thing for us to do is to continue working hard and improve our game from time to time.
Razali was also happy to see his skipper Reithuddin lead the side, pointing out that the latter was excellent throughout.
“As you can see, he was a good leader on the field, and his presence also helps instil greater confidence among his team-mates,” Razali said.
Cebagoo FC take on Pulau Pinang PBAPP FC on February 24 in an away match.