Old problems resurface for LionsXII
Read more here.The three points were very much there for the taking, especially after a dominant display in the first 45 minutes. However the LionsXII contrived to throw it all away with two silly errors after the break. Defending for those two conceded goals will have to be described as shambolic, at the very least. Considering that these were players who had experience playing in international competitions like the AFF Suzuki Cup and the Southeast Asian Games together, there was little excuse for such defensive clangers on the night.
Three players were involved in the build-up to the Kelantan equalizer – left-back Shakir Hamzah and centre back Safuwan Baharudin were racing back, while goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud came rushing off his line. Considering the numbers they had back there, it should have been adequate to cope with Ahmad Fakri's late run to chase down that innocuous long ball. However, there was little communication between the trio during that situation. Perhaps one should have called out to the other to clear the danger and that goal could have been averted. It came down to who wanted it the most in the end, as Fakri bursts past the two defenders and clipped the ball beyond Izwan.
Isa Halim was the unlikely culprit as the second goal arrived in injury time. One of the team's most experienced players, the LionsXII skipper was at fault as he failed to play to the whistle. As another harmless-looking long ball came looping overhead, the 27-year-old simply stopped running while raising his right hand to appeal for an offside call that never came. Francis Forkey Doe played on, got past Izwan and slotted home gleefully into an empty net for the winner – the second time in 3 years that he had inflicted a home defeat for the LionsXII.
Whatever has been said about those mistakes though, things could and should have been very different if they had taken those chances created in the first half.
At the risk of starting to sound like a broken record, this has been a perennial problem for Fandi Ahmad’s side. It started as early as the season opener away against Pahang FA, it happened again in the 2-1 FA Cup second-round defeat to the same opposition, we saw that in that uninspiring stalemate against Terengganu FA in the last home game. LionsXII were wasteful in those games, and were one again profligate in front of goal on Saturday night. Fans who were in full voice for much of the match were left wondering how their team had managed to throw the game away after such an impressive first half.