Fandi slams 'intimidated' LionsXII
Fandi says LionsXII intimidated by boisterous home crowd
(Chidi Edeh 48, 78)
They are nicknamed the Hijau Kuning (Green and Yellow) and, last night at the Darul Aman Stadium in Alor Setar, Kedah beat the LionsXII black and blue in their Malaysia Cup Group A clash.
The home side were dominant from the get-go, and ran out 2-0 winners thanks to a double by Nigerian striker Chidi Edeh.
The result had much to do with the full-throated support of the 31,000 Kedah fans, who showed how a partisan home crowd could lift their team, and intimidate their rivals.
LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad was livid at how his players wilted in the white-hot atmosphere.
"Some of our players just didn't turn up," he said, declining to name specifically who.
"They were so scared to play in front of a capacity crowd.
"Every footballer should want to play in an atmosphere like this.
"Two or three of them just disappeared, and I will have a word with them... They have to buck up."
Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe hailed their supporters, although a minority, their Ultras, showed their mischief by chanting "Singapore itu anjing" (Singapore are dogs) and hurling water at this reporter and their own coach while we were standing just outside the Kedah dressing room.
Said Tan, a Malaysia Cup winner in 1990: "You can see for yourself.
"The full capacity crowd was behind us all the way, and the players responded by showing they wanted to win from the first minute."
Kedah got off to a storming start, and carved out the first clear chance of the game when Sandro da Silva played a clever one-two with Syazwan Zainon and burst into the box, only to blast his effort over with just LionsXII goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud to beat.
Kedah fielded their third-choice goalkeeper Muhammad Firdaus in place of the injured No. 1 Abdul Hadi Hamid, after Tan opted to field the 22-year-old ahead of teenage second-choice Syazwan Abdullah after his nightmare showing in the 3-2 shock loss to Johor Darul Ta'zim II on Tuesday.
Despite facing an inexperienced custodian, the best chance Fandi's charges could conjure was when Shakir Hamzah's header off a corner bounced centimetres wide of the upright in the 35th minute.
Even though they hung on till half-time, the LionsXII conceded just three minutes after the break.
After Madhu Mohana had fouled Liridon Krasniqi just outside the box, up stepped Sandro to fire a free-kick that Izwan could only punch into the path of Edeh, who gleefully headed into an empty goal.
Edeh came close to scoring again in the 68th minute, when his header came off the crossbar, but he was not to be denied for long.
Just 10 minutes after the miss, he was played through on goal by Sandro and made no mistake, slotting under Izwan to seal the win.
Said Fandi: "Kedah were hungrier for the result.
"We are not in good shape now, but I hope we can make use of the upcoming international break and regroup.
"We must only look forward now, to our game against JDT II (on Oct 17) and look to pick up three points then."
- Kelantan 0 Selangor 1
- Johor DT II v Terengganu
- ATM v Sarawak
- Perak v Johor DT
- T-Team v Felda
- PDRM v Pahang
- PKNS v Penang
- KEDAH: Muhammad Firdaus, P Rajesh (Alif Fadzil 74), Osman Yusoff, Khairul Helmi, Shafizan Hashim (Shazuan Ashraf 85), Baddrol Bakhtiar, Liridon Krasniqi, Syazwan Zainon (Syazwan Tajuddin 81), Sandro da Silva, Farhan Roslan, Chidi Edeh
- LIONSXII: Izwan Mahbud 6, Faritz Hameed 5.5 (Christopher van Huizen 59, 5.5), Madhu Mohana 5.5, Shakir Hamzah 6, Hafiz Abu Sujad 6, Izzdin Shafiq 5.5 (Shahdan Sulaiman 85), Zulfahmi Arifin 5.5, Nazrul Ahmad Nazari 5.5, Safuwan Baharudin 5.5, Faris Ramli 5.5 (Sahil Suhaimi 56, 5.5), Khairul Amri 5.5.