Kurniawan: Rhinos learnt lesson for not playing to the whistle

PETALING JAYA: Sabah coach Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto hopes his players have learnt their lesson and that is to play to the whistle.

The Premier League champions were left red-faced in their 1-1 draw with Petaling Jaya City in their Super League clash last week.

The Rhinos stopped playing and were expecting the referee to award them a free-kick after one of their players was elbowed but the referee waved play on and PJ City’s Elizeu Araujo scored in the 51st minute.

Sabah had to dig deep and found their equaliser late through Serbian striker Rodoljub Paunovic in the 87th minute.

“I won’t blame the referee for not giving us the free-kick and I hope the players will take it as a lesson.

“They have to continue playing until they hear the ref’s whistle, ” said the former Indonesian international.

The draw ended Sabah’s two-match losing run since the season resumed last month. The east Malaysians were beaten 4-0 by Terengganu on Aug 29 and were edged 2-1 by Selangor on Sept 4.

The draw with PJ City leaves them in the relegation zone on 11th spot with six points but Kurniawan sees plenty of positives from their performance.

“We were confident of winning the game and the players showed great fighting spirit and created a lot of chances... we however need to work on making our chances count, ” added Kurniawan.

“What makes me happy is that the players kept their focus after the opponents took the lead and it allowed us to equalise.

“This is an important thing which we need to bring to the next four matches. We will bounce back.”

Sabah will travel to unbeaten Kedah at the Cheras Football Stadium on Sept 21. The match was moved to Kuala Lumpur due to the Covid-19 situation in Kedah.

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