Friday September 12, 2003
Jalil blames it on SarpongBy RIZAL ABDULLAH
JOHOR BARU: Sarawak had looked up to defender Emmanuel Sarpong to play a big part to stop favourites Perak in the Malaysia Cup quarter-final first-leg match at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Wednesday.
But the Ghanaian let the team down and the Crocs crashed to a 0-2 defeat.
Said coach Jalil Ramli on his return with the team to Kuching yesterday: “This was not the Sarpong I know. He was not in the game at all and his blunders cost us the match.
FIRST STRIKE: Perak's Bhaichung Bhutia is congratulated by Indra Putra Mahyuddin after the Indian striker had scored the first goal against Sarawak in their quarter-final first-leg match at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Wednesday. Perak won 2-0.--STARpic by SAZUKI EMBONG.
“I just don't know what was wrong with him. Soon after the match kicked off, he was arguing with the referee. He was too emotional ... maybe he was trying too hard to win the match for the team.
“He gifted Perak the second goal when he failed to clear the ball inside the box. He should have known what to do in the danger area but he tried something fanciful.
“I will have a heart-to-heart talk with Sarpong. We still need his services in the return match.”
But Sarawak will be without former international Gilbert Cassidy Gawing for the return match. He has to serve a suspension for the red card he received for a tackle on Perak striker Yusri Che Lah in the 71st minute.
“We are two goals down but we still have a fighting chance. It would have been very difficult if we were three down,” said Jalil.
In Ipoh, Perak coach Toni Netto wasn’t wearing a broad smile even though his team hold a handy lead over Sarawak.
“Everyone is already talking about the semi-finals. But as far as I am concerned, the job is not done yet. I have reminded the players not to get carried away with the two-goal lead and let their guard down in the return match.”
Liberian striker Frank Seator is doubtful for the match in Kuching tomorrow. He limped out with a leg injury in the 71st minute of the first-leg match in which he did not score a goal for the first time.
Seator had been on target in all the matches he played in previously, including a hat-trick in Perak’s 5-1 win over Malacca.
Perak scored their goals through Indian striker Bhaichung Bhutia (15th) and Yusri (67th).