KOTA KINABALU (Aug 27): Datuk Ong Kim Swee has expressed his displeasure at the Rhinos’ tendency to switch off particularly after taking a healthy lead against their opponents.
The head coach made his feeling clear after he was left unimpressed by the Rhinos conceding a late goal in the 3-1 Super League win over Negeri Sembilan FC at the Likas Stadium on Saturday.
“No … not for me,” replied Kim Swee when it was put to him that Sabah showed a spirited display in the victory over Negeri Sembilan.
“If we had showed great fighting spirit, we would not have let in the late goal. I’m not happy because of the attitude of taking things easy.
“If we want to play at the highest level such as in the AFC Cup and also the Malaysia Cup after this, if we lost our focus like what happened in the second half we may get punished.
“So we cannot be too easily satisfied or start to take things easy when we are in the lead,” said Kim Swee.
In the game, Sabah FC had gone three-nil up after an outstanding first half performance, scoring through Brazilian striker Ramon Machado with a double before Miguel Cifuentes added another just before half time whistle.
The Rhinos continued to dominate in the second period but without much success in front of goal and it proved costly as Negeri Sembilan punished the Rhinos after some sloppy plays to pull a goal back in the 90th minute.
Hein Htet Aung shot from tight angle to beat Mohamad Ramzi Mustakim, who had replaced number one goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat just a minute earlier.
With the win, Sabah retained their fourth position having collected 42 points from 13 wins, three draws and six losses.
Meanwhile, Kim Swee said he would have around two weeks to fine tune the team ahead of their next game.
“This will allow me ample time to make improvement in the team. I also hope that the players who will go on a two or three-day break will return fresher and even focused,” he said.
The Rhinos will now turn their focus to the Malaysia Cup quarterfinal, where the first leg will be played on September 15/17 and the second leg between September 23-25.
Sabah will play host to Perak FC in the first leg tie at the Likas Stadium.