Sarawak down Sabah for first Super League win


KUCHING: Portuguese striker Fernando Manuel Co, playing in only his fourth match for Sarawak, scored a brace as the Crocs finally got their first Super League win after seven matches, beating Sabah 3-1 in last night’s East Malaysian derby at the Sarawak Stadium. 

Sabah also saw red when substitute June Azral Lalah was given the sack in the 82nd minute for a second bookable offence. He had earlier replaced Leosmar Nascimento. 

Co got his first goal in the 15th minute from a penalty and his second in the 18th minute after Sabah made it 1-1 with a controversial equaliser in the 17th minute through Nascimento.  

Gilbert Cassidy Gawing scored Sarawak’s third in the 62nd minute. 

The flurry of goals made the first half an exciting one as Sarawak, looking for their first win in seven matches, went straight into attack. 

With Ghanaian striker Robert Eshun sidelined due to injury, Sarawak paraded Co and Englishman Kim Grant as their twin strikers.  

Sarawak deservedly took the lead in the 15th minute. Nazrulerwan Makmor brought down Gilbert inside the box and Co made no mistake from the spot, sending Khairul Azman Mohamed the wrong way for his first Super League goal.  

It turned out to be a short-lived joy as Sabah quickly scored the equaliser, albeit a controversial one. 

Sarawak conceded a freekick which was taken by K. Sanbagamaran. Brazilian Nascimento whipped in a waist-high shot although he and two other teammates were in offside position. Sarawak protested vehemently but referee Ahmad Khalidi Supian stood his ground. 

Sarawak, however, hit back a minute later. Khairul misjudged Wong Sai Kong’s shot and Co was on hand to grab the opportunity. 

Sarawak stretched their lead to 3-1 when Grant laid a perfect pass for Gilbert, who drilled home a low shot into the far corner in the 62nd minute.