Sarawak’s winless run in the league was ended with a smash and grab win in Penang on Saturday.
The 1-0 win was made possible with a tap in by Mark Hartmann after excellent follow up work by Mateo Roskam. Hartmann’s initial effort had hit the post but Roskam’s determined run saw him first to the ball before his cross was easily dispatched by Hartmann.
The win aside, Sarawak were fortunate as the home team clearly dominated possession and had the better chances. Shahril Sa’ari’s man of the match performance in goal ensured the game remained 1-0.
Penang were thwarted time and again by an outstanding display by Sarawak’s rearguard in which goalkeeper Shahril, a fan favourite, produced a string of magnificent saves. Either that or his tribal jersey blinded the Penang forwards.
Sarawak had flattered to deceive for most of the match and stellar names flickered at best. Last ditch defending and poor finishing by Penang secured Sarawak’s first win of the season.
On the bright side, the burgeoning partnerships within the team is something to cheer about.
The pair of Ronny and Demerson in central defence have finally looked comfortable with players being commanding and robust while Hartmann and Mateo Roskam have shown that they dovetail well together.
There is still a matter of the midfield where Sarawak has failed to dominate in the first four games of the season. David Usop has had a little time to figure out his selection in central midfield before tomorrow’s FA Cup round of 32 against the Premier League’s MISC-MIFA.
The fans are baying for a good performance after the limp 1-0 loss against Pahang in the opening home game of the season.
Although newly promoted, MISC-MIFA’s 5-3 win against JDT II on Friday has shown that their forward line of Tagne Dimitri and Michael Ijezie may cause some problems for the Crocs’ rearguard.
David Usop has to be wary of MISC-MIFA’s frontline, who have shown improvement over the first few games of the Premier League. Sarawak cannot switch off against supposed lesser opposition.
Jacob Joseph’s side cannot be as generous at the Stadium Negeri as they were against JDT II, where they allowed their opponents to take a 2-0 lead, as fanatical home support will further drive the Crocs to record their second successive win.