The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Rhinos chase leaders Felda United FA
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will hope to close the gap on leaders Felda United FA when they resume the Premier League challenge against MISC-MIFA at the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council Stadium tonight.
The Rhinos are currently third in the 12-team league, collecting eight points from two wins and as many draws and trail Felda, who have won all their matches to collect maximum 15 points.
UiTM FC (nine points) are second but like Felda, the teams have completed five round of matches.
And Sabah are determined to make their game in hand count by taking the three points against their mid-table opponents MISCMIFA.
Head coach Jelius Ating said the players were ready for tonight’s battle starting at 9pm, citing the players are itching to return to winning ways.
For the record, the Rhinos failed to win in their last two outings - the 1-1 home draw against Sarawak in the league as well as the 1-2 after extra time defeat to Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) in the FA Cup second round.
Jelius however revealed that they have put the FA Cup exit out of their system and now they are fully focussed on the league where they are unbeaten in the opening four matches.
“We suffered defeat in the FA Cup but we did not let ourselves down performance wise.
“Now we must try to bounce back by getting the desired results against MISC-MIFA in the league competition.
“We have made a good start to the league and it is very important that we keep the momentum going. Every game is crucial to us and we have to be at our best all the time to get the result,” he said yesterday.
Having said that, Jelius also expressed his hope that the good start would continue for them to get the foundation right in their quest to get a shot at Super League promotion at season end.
Meanwhile, Jelius is likely to keep faith with the 3-5-2 formation to face MISC-MIFA, who along with Felda and Sabah are among the five teams that remain unbeaten in the league.
The former defence stalwart also said that the team are free from injury and suspension to enable him to most likely stick with the same players that started for him in the past couple of matches.
Robson Rendy Rining is set to start in goal and will have captain Rawilson Batuil, Zambian defender Francis Kasonde and Mafry Balang in front of him as the three-man defence.
Jenius Karib and Maxsius Musa will provide the width on both flanks with South Korean Heo Jaenyeong, Mohd Azzizan Nordin and Sabri Sahar operating in the middle of the park.
Puerto Rican footballer Hector Ramos will be the strike-inchief with South Korean Lee Gil Hoon deployed just behind him.