KUCHING: Scoring goals in his debut is nothing new to Robert Eshun but he would rather not have scored if it would have meant a Sarawak victory over bitter rivals Sabah at the Sarawak Stadium on Saturday.
Instead, score he did – once – and the two neighbours drew 3-3 in their opening Premier I match.
What made the draw all the “more painful” was that Sabah, who were down 0-2 and then 1-3, salvaged a precious point with the equaliser coming deep into injury time.
Ramos Sari scored twice for Sarawak (7th and 50th minutes) while Eshun added the third in the 28th minute. Sabah replied through Zainizam Marjan (46th), K. Sanbagamaran (71st) and Asmawi Bakiri (90th).
The Sabah players greeted the result with jubilation, with the players hugging each other while their Sarawak counterparts flopped to the ground in frustration.
And now, the Ghanaian has vowed to help Sarawak win the return-leg match in Kota Kinabalu later this year.
“Sabah escaped this time. But I promise that we will win in Kota Kinabalu.
“We will inflict pain on them in front of their own fans,” said Eshun.
Incidentally, Eshun was cleared only hours before the match to take to the field when assistant manager Abdillah Mail returned to Kuching after a nine-hour trip to Kuala Lumpur to secure the the Ghanaian's playing licence after depositing a RM210,000 bank guarantee with FAM.
Eshun had also scored on his debut with his previous teams in Turkey and Belgium.
The 3-3 draw meant Sarawak have failed to break the 10-year jinx against their neighbours. This is also the first time In the East Malaysian derby that the teams had scored more than two goals against each other.
“I would have preferred a win for Sarawak than scoring a goal in my M-League debut. The draw is very painful ... more so when we gave away the equaliser with the last kick of the match,” said Eshun, who played the full match despite picking up a groin strain while warming up.