KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah are in a desperate need of an away win over fellow relegation battlers Petaling Jaya City FC (PJ City) in their Super League clash this Saturday to boost their hopes of escaping the drop zone.
Sabah head coach Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto knows they need to get full points at the MBPJ Stadium after watching his men fall by the wayside in their last two matches — losing 4-0 to Terengganu FC and 2-1 to Selangor last Friday (Sept 4).
“Although there were signs of improvement in our performance against Selangor, we still made some silly mistakes and were punished.
“I don’t want to fault the players. It is my duty now to make sure the players are mentally strong and they can bounce back with a win this weekend,” he said in a statement issued by the Malaysian Football League (MFL) today.
Sabah are in 11th spot in the 12-team standings with five points after six matches, the same as 10th-placed PJ City, who have a better goal difference.
Kurniawan believes there is still room for Sabah to improve and get themselves out from the relegation zone as the teams above them are not miles ahead in terms of points gained.
The coach, however, won’t have defender Randy Baruh for the match against PJ City as the player will have to sit out a match after accumulating three yellow cards.
And Kurniawan is aware that his team must not take it easy against PJ City, who have lost their last three matches.
“PJ City are a good team and I want to emphasise that to my players. They must never look down on any opponents. If we can cut down on our mistakes and stay focused, I am confident we can get something from the match,” he said.
According to the 2020 Super League format, the bottom two teams in the standings after 11 matches will be relegated to the Premier League next season.