KUCHING: Sarawak strengthen thier position for promotion to the Super League after trashing Penang USM FC 4-1 in the Premier League at the State Stadium, Petra Jaya here yesterday.
All the goals were scored in the second half through Ashri Chuchu (2 goals), Bobby Gonzales and Benedict Martin while Penang USM FC consolation goal was scored by Mohd Failee Mohd Ghazli.
In yesterday match , the first half was equally contested as both teams were playing cautiously. Nevertheless, the Crocs had several scoring chances but failed to find the net.
The visitors launched several counter attacks, but the custodian Aidil Mohamad was in his top form to let the ball into net.
At half time both teams were tied 0-0.
After the breather, right after the first whistle Sarawak rose to the occasion electrifying the game and in possession of the ball.
The Crocs’ endless attacks finally paid-off in the 47th minute when Ashri scored, beating the on rushing keeper Jeevananthan Gunasekaran on a one-on-one situation.
Not showing any sign of complacency, Ashri again made a spur by scoring the second goal in the 59th minute through a left-footed chip connecting a pass from midfielder, Wong Sai Kong, defeating stunned Jeevananthan.
USM FC started to play robustly after realising they were two goals behind, resulting in two players got the booking from referee Wan Mohd Tarmizi Wan Ibrahim.
Sarawak doubled their pressure on USM FC and was well taken by Bobby and scored the third goal in the 69th minute from goal mouth melee, to the shocked of Jeevananthan.
Sarawak’s 3-0 comfortable lead somehow did not break USM FC’s spirit. Instead, they made several surprise counter attacks to the Crocs half, but luck was not on their side.
Substituting Bobby with Benedict Martin five minutes into full time the proved rewarding when he scored Sarawak’s fourth winning goal in the 85th minute through set piece taken just inches away from the box
However, the visitor did not leave empty handed when they scored the consolation goal in the 87th minute of the game through an intense struggle in the box between keeper Mohd Failee and Aidil, to make it 4-1.
Robert and the rest of the Sarawak Football Association (FAS) officials including FAS president Datu Sudarsono Osman could to express their joy after a substantial win.
“It was an outstanding performance by the boys especially in the second-half. I am truly happy with huge win over USM FC. It was expected. I predicted Sarawak will win with three goals. This is one of the happiest moments for me, the boys, Datu Sudarsono, the rest of the FAS management team including the Sarawak fans. This game is slightly different from any other games. We have won and we will go to the Super League next season.
“However, USM FC played well especially in the first-half. Their abilities are as equal as Sime Darby’s. They were organized. I have to admit that Sarawak was weak in the first-half. Part of the reason was the lack of team work between Zamri Morshidi, Ashri and Bobby.
“I reminded both Zamri and Ashri after the first half time to assist Bobby and it paid-off well, they played according to instruction and the result was great,” Robert said.
Meanwhile, Datu Sudarsono was pleased with Sarawak’s win and said that he is looking forward for Super League challenge next season at the same time aiming to gain a respectable position in the league.
“I would like to congratulate the boys including Robert for doing a great job in delivering a great game throughout the season. Super League is in our hands right now. We are definitely looking forward to it.
“It is surely a good feeling from all of us especially the fans. The 4-1 win over USM FC means a lot for Sarawakians. I would like to express my gratitude to Sarawak’s former head coach Mohd Zaki Shaikh Ahmad for contributing to a tremendously good start for the Sarawak team and Robert for putting it to a good finish,” he expressed.
Sarawak is currently in the second placing in the league behind Selangor PKNS but has secured a place in the Super League next season. The Crocs will next play Selangor PKNS and ATM on July 4 (State stadium) and July 29 (away) for their two remaining matches.