Sabah Selection vs QPR, 17th July 2012

Updated 25 Nov 2012

QPR’s 13th league game ended in a 1-3 defeat at Man Utd.

Their record now stands at 13-0-4-9, the worst Premier League start any side has made after 13 games.

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Updated 24 Nov 2012

Immediately after the match against Southampton, Tony Fernandes tweeted twice, first:

I feel gutted. I have put my heart and soul into this with my other shareholders. And done all we can to give support to players and all management. I can only apologise to the QPR fans. we keep fighting.

Then secondly:

Let me tell you Fans come first. Everyone including me let the fans down. Many of us need a hard look at themselves. QPR has amazing fans. They deserve better.

About 6 days later, the gaffer fired.

Comparison:

Roberto Di Matteo:
- 4 March 2012: following dismissal of Villas-Boas, became interim first-team coach (manager?) of Chelsea
- 5 May 2012: Chelsea win FA Cup
- 19 May 2012: Chelsea win Champions League
- 13 June 2012: officially appointed manager
- 21 November 2012: sacked.

Di Matteo had lasted just 8 months as manager despite winning 2 major trophies.

Mark Hughes:
- 10 January 2012: officially appointed manager of QPR
- 23 November 2012: sacked.

That means Mark Hughes outlasted Roberto Di Matteo as an EPL manager, despite winning zero trophies. At the time of his sacking, QPR is the only club without a win in all four professional divisions in England.

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Updated 18 Nov 2012

Before crunch match against Southampton at home, Tony tweeted:

We got to cut out errors. One error cost us and we got to take our chances. Team played as planned. Must win next win. No panic. Table is compressed. Defense was awful now fairly solid. Midfield strong. Got to score now.

QPR lost the match 1-3.

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Updated 1 Sep 2012

On 18th August, while following QPR’s first EPL match against Swansea, I had a feeling the result might end up with the same score as its match with Sabah & Kelantan.

Before the match:

@IJTaylor81 One final prediction … #QPR fans will be the best in the league (again!) and Loftus Road will be a fortress. #12thManFactor #QPR”

I went out after the 3rd goal – when I came back the match was over and the score – déjà vu, was QPR 0-5 Swansea. At home.

Selected followup tweets:

@tonyfernandes That was a pretty poor anniversary. Worse than last season. But I remain positive.”

@tonyfernandes We haven’t jelled yet. Have faith and be optimistic.

@tonyfernandes There are some positives. Ji was great. Hoillet looked good. We dominaited (sic) the first half. I don’t honestly feel that bad. But 5 0 is 5 0. Body punch and I’m still fat.

@tonyfernandes Defense was very poor today. No excuses. But this is a far better place we are in than last season at bolton.

@IJTaylor81 Its amazing how drinks with loved ones and friends makes you feel better. Could be worse I guess. Long way to go #MarathonNotASprint

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Updated 20th July 2012

After Sabah Selection, QPR played Kelantan tonight at Shah Alam Stadium.

Crowd: about 31K; so in a stadium that can fit 80K, it seemed rather empty.

QPR’s home stadium can fit 18K.

Kelantan is the best football club in Malaysia, Super League 2012 champions & some claim to be ranked 168th in the world.

Of course Kelantan looked better and sharper than Sabah Selection, yet still lost by exactly the same score, 0-5.

Sabahans were more fortunate – at least we saw Park Ji-Sung play for 45 minutes at Likas Stadium. He didn’t play at all in KL. Mark Hughes was quoted to have said that Park picked up an ankle injury in the first game and was rested as a precaution.

Has he ever played in Malaysia before the Sabah date? I didn’t see his name in Manchester United’s teamlists during their 2009 Malaysian tour.

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Updated 19th July 2012

QPR has come and gone – they might never come back, but the following tweet on 15th July summarised what they thought about Sabah in general:

@IJTaylor81 3 days on tour and we’ve hardly paused for breath! Amazing experience, great people and unreal reception from the locals #QPR #AsiaTour

Ian Taylor is QPR’s Press, PR & Publications Manager

Well done, keep it up Sabah!

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Updated 18 July 2012

Match highlights

Crowd: about 20,000. QPR media used about 4 laptops: video streaming, updating twitter, website etc. But apparently the live streaming didn’t work out.

Gulf in class apparent. QPR seemed to playing at half speed in the first half, only changing to a higher gear in the 2nd half. QPR keeper was never troubled, only made one or two easy saves. The score could easily have been in double figures.

Best comments heard:

- When Titus Bonai went down: “Oi Drogba, jatuh!”
- On the 65th: “OK lah, kasi masuk Torres”
- As Sabah Selection’s goalkeeper was being substituted in the second half: “Dia pindik sebab angkat gatah baitu”
- As Sabah Selection players walked in to warm up next to six QPR players on the pitch: “Alamak macam budak sikulah saja ni pemain Sabah”
- As some spectators were exiting before the end: “Jangan dulu pigi putung gatah bah.. masih ada 10 minit.”

The insults against the Sabah Selection players grew louder as time went on, as fans grew frustrated at stray passes, errors under pressure, etc.

Sabah Selection’s no.30 came in, had one touch, and less than 10 seconds later the match ended, upon which he raised up his hands, as if asking: “why the heck did the coach ask me to go in anyway?”

Some of the QPR players were so big and tall that some of the Sabah Selection’s players looked like 3 times smaller and only up to their waists.

With 10 minutes remaining, people were already streaming out.

Cheerleaders’ show on halftime: near accident when they did the pyramid thingy.

The press conference with Mark Hughes and a stern-looking man introducing by snapping “make it quick, we need to get back to the hotel quickly” lasted about 5 minutes.

Hughes said “I think it’s only right that I make Park the captain tonight, but he won’t necessarily be the captain in the new season.”

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Updated 16 July 2012

14th July

About 1pm, arrived from Hong Kong to KKIA2 to great fanfare.

YouTube Preview Image

I love that Sabahan war dance performance, especially when the dancer went closest to the players :-)

Evening: private dinner with Sabah FA

15th July

8am: gym

1pm: press conference, Magellan Sutera. Apparently a fan gave Park Ji-Sung a Manchester United jersey to sign, to which he refused. It seems that Jamie Mackie & Clint Hill were the only players present during the actual PC. Mackie scored QPR’s second goal in that epic final EPL match against Manchester City, which at any other time would’ve ensured that United become league champions again.

4pm: training session at UMS

16th July

8am: gym

1.30pm: press conference with Park Ji-Sung & Mark Hughes at Magellan Sutera

Afternoon: Michael Docherty, Nedum Onuoha and Max Ehmer visited SMK Putatan, even played barefooted 3 vs 3 match with students.

4pm: training session at UMS

17th July

8.15pm: the match, which ended with a 5-0 victory for the visitors. Unfortunately it coincided with an away Super League match of the state team. Therefore not a single state team would play in this match. For the record, the state team lost 0-1 in a playoff, meaning they are relegated to the second tier league.

18th July

morning: off to KL to prepare for the next match on 20th.

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QPR is probably the third European professional football team to play in Sabah since:
- Sabah Selection vs Manchester United in the same stadium in 1980. Mokhtar Dahari also played. That match ended in a 2-0 victory for the visitors.
- Borneo Selection (Sabah & Sarawak) vs Sheffield United in 1983.

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