KUCHING: A goal from a header by Bobby Gonzales in the 18th minute was enough to seal Sarawak’s win over Sime Darby in a top-of-table clash at the State stadium here last night.
Chances were few and far in between in a cagey match played on a soggy pitch after a heavy downpour in the afternoon as the players struggled to keep their feet.
The visitors had the first look at goal in the 5th minute when their imported player Kolam Togaba Kontiwa latched on to a loose ball from about 30 yards out but the shot went straight to Sarawak’s goalkeeper Sani Anuar Kamsani.
Play was concentrated in the congested midfield with neither side making any significant breakthrough unti l the 12th minute when Sime Darby was awarded a free kick after another of their imported player Karlo Primorac was fouled outside the box. Tobaga took the free kick but Sani had it well covered.
Then came that decisive moment in the 18th minute when the Croc’s right flanker Zamri Morshidi streaked towards the opposite bye-line skipping a few challenges along way before unleashing a teasing cross into Sime Darby’s goal keeper area.
Gonzales launched himself above everyone else to head the ball in and landing in the net himself.
The home crowd who almost filled the stadium erupted into rapture but that proved to be the only goal of the match although the game opened up after that as Sime Darby went in search for the equaliser and Sarawak tried to make the match safe with at least another goal.
The crocs did have the goal in the net in the 26th minute but fans’ ecstasy was short-lived as the referee disallowed it for offside.
Six minutes later Sarawak was dealt a blow when their captain Joseph Kallang Tie was injured and had to be replaced by Shahrol Saperi.
It was end to end play in the second half but neither side could fi nd the net although there several near-misses at both end of the field.
Another damper for the home side was the booking of imported player Junior Eldstal in the 59th minute.
Midfi elder Azizan Baba was also brought in to replace Muamer Salibasic in the dying minutes of the of the game for Sarawak.
The home fans greeted the fi nal whistle with loud cheers and great relief as Sarawak climbed above Sime Darby at the top of the table with the three points collected.
With 37 points, Sarawak now top the Premier League, just one point above Sime Darby FC.
Source: The Borneo Post