It was a game which they could not afford to drop any more points, after picking up only one point in their last two prior to this encounter. The LionsXII were dealt a cruel blow to their title chances as V Sundramoorthy’s boys were held to a goalless draw by Kuala Lumpur (KL) in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) at the Hang Jebat Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Fresh from a seventeen day break barely two weeks ago, LionsXII cuts a pale shadow of the side that had stamped their authority in the league and were deemed one of the favorites to capture the MSL title. Three games on after the restart of the season, the Singaporean outfit found themselves only four points ahead of second placed Kelantan, having played five games more.
The LionsXII did all that they could, but it seemed that the absence of talismanic skipper Shahril Ishak in the attacking third was proving to be a huge setback for the team. Shahdan Sulaiman, Khairul Amri, Firdaus Kasman alongside second half substitutes Sufian Anuar and Agu Casmir came closest to breaking the deadlock but the ball does not seem to have any affinity with the back of the net.
Despite this set back, skipper Hariss Harun insists that his team will fight Kelantan all the way.
“We are still four points ahead, but we will push (Kelantan) all the way till the end,” Hariss told aXrosstheline.com
“It was a very average performance against the League’s bottom team.We knew that they will try to make it as tough for us as possible, by playing defensively and for a start we didn’t do too well, but we recovered after that slow start,” Hariss told aXrosstheline.com
“We just couldn’t find the cutting edge to put the final ball into the net. We had two clear cut chances in the first half and we saw chances hitting the upright, as well as getting cleared off the line,” Hariss added.
LionsXII brought on Sufian Anuar and Agu Casmir late on in search of the all important late winner but it proved to be futile. The boys were playing compact football as instructed as it was always important to keep it tight at the back in games away from home, especially when the teams are not predictable.
“As players, we just do what we’re told to do. And I think we pushed a bit too late, but that is the way the game is. We created enough chances earlier on in the game to finish the game off so let’s not talk about not pushing more bodies upfront,”
“I thought the replacements for the suspended players who came on were decent, therefore credit to them. It is never easy to not play games regularly and then to come on and perform up to a certain standard. Look at Abdil (Qaiyyim), he gave his best until he had to be replaced due to cramps,” Hariss said.
Hear what Coach Sundram has to say in the post match interviews below:
Other MSL results tonight:
Negeri Sembilan 3-1 Perak
Kedah 1-3 Selangor PKNS
Selangor 2-1 Felda United