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End of the road for U-19 squad

10th August, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s Youth Cup campaign came to an end as they were knocked out in the quarter-final stage by Kedah despite winning 1-0 in the second leg played at the Penampang Stadium, near here, on Thursday.

The home side trailed on aggregate coming into the second leg (lost 2-4 in Kedah), but an early goal by skipper Muhd Syahmil Nizam Iqbal Khan in the 15th minute gave Sabah some hope in overturning the result.

However, stern defending by Kedah gave Sabah little opportunities in front of goal as they held on to advance into the semi-final stage by winning 4-3 on aggregate.

Sabah Under-19 assistant team manager, Lokman Sunggim was slightly disappointed not to go through to the last four of the competition but insisted that the team will come back even stronger next season.

“We gave it our all today (Thursday). The players performed to their best in the match but it was not meant as we bowed out in the quarter-final stage yet again (last time was in 2016).

“Kedah came into the match with a plan to defend their two-goal advantage, which they managed even after getting pressured by us throughout the match considering that we needed to win 2-0 to capitalise on our two away goals from the first leg.

“Congratulations to them but also a big thank you to the state juniors for giving their all throughout the entire season where we have achieved our initial objective of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

“Hopefully, next season Sabah will come back stronger with fresh faces on board and go all the way in the Youth Cup competition,” he said when met after the match.

Lokman also thanked the coaching staff who were led by young head coach in Mohd Aiyyman Johnny Abdullah as well as the Sabah FA (Safa) for their support towards the team.

Sabah bowed out in the quarter-final stage which meant that Kedah could meet either Negeri Sembilan or Selangor PKNS FC in the semi-final. The final result of the match was not known during press time.

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