Fandi blasts LionsXII after lacklustre draw
Fandi blasts his lackadaisical men and labels next match a must-win
(Shahdan Sulaiman 18)
(Sandro Mendonca 16)
With his team's chances of making it past the Malaysia Cup group stages suddenly hazy, LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad pulled no punches in his post-match assessment.
After watching his Malaysian Super League (MSL) side eke out a dull 1-1 draw at home against Malaysian Premier League champions Kedah in front of 5,266 fans last night at the Jalan Besar Stadium, the 53-year-old tore into his limp team.
"I'm very disappointed with our performance, but not the result because we are very lucky to get a point," said Fandi.
"When half of the team don't perform, we are in trouble. I'm very disappointed with some players because I didn't see the fire and desire in them.
"I don't have a reason or excuse. We have to look ourselves in the mirror. It's time to buck up."
A 35-metre scorcher by Sandro Mendonca in the 16th minute and Shahdan Sulaiman's deflected equaliser just two minutes later set the stage for a high-scoring humdinger.
But the goal feast didn't materialise and, with the visitors keen to resort to time-wasting theatrics early in the game, the match degenerated into a war of attrition with neither goalkeeper tested further.
Despite a late sending-off for Kedah substitute Rizal Ghazali for dissent, referee Zamzaidi Katimin was still culpable for not cautioning any player for time-wasting and added only three minutes at the end even with the many stoppages.
Fandi accepted responsibility for starting the match without a recognised striker in the absence of the suspended Khairul Amri.
"Yes, that was a mistake," said Fandi.
"We thought playing Safuwan (Baharudin) up front would give us some superiority. But he didn't have much support.
"We were not fast moving forward, were late in tackling and non-existent on the wings."
The LionsXII will do well to remember that last season's early exit from the competition was primarily down to their failure to win at home.
NO JOY AWAY
They ended their MSL campaign in seventh spot because they were unable to find much joy on the road, and alarm bells should ring now even with five Group A games to go, given that they have already wasted one home game and tougher matches against seeded outfit Terengganu await.
Fandi agreed that their next match, away at Johor Darul Ta'zim II, the lowest-ranked team in the competition, is now a must-win.
He said: "The only way to make up for this result and progress is to win our away games.
"We must stay focused in the next five games and believe in our ability.
"The players need to realise that every Malaysian team badly want to make the Malaysia Cup final and there are no easy walkabouts.
"If we want to go far in this competition, we need to wake up and work hard."
TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: SAFUWAN BAHARUDIN (LIONSXII)
It was frustrating to see him miss his chances, but it’s easy to forget that Safuwan is primarily a defender by trade, who is doing more than he should to force himself into
good scoring positions. Last night, he was one of the few who was enthusiastic and enterprising, getting stuck in and trying to make something happen.
BLOW BY BLOW
16 min: GOAL! LionsXII 0 Kedah 1. Sandro Mendonca unleashes a torpedo from 30m that flies straight past Izwan Mahbud.
18 min: GOAL! LionsXII 1 Kedah 1. The hosts are right back in it as Shahdan Sulaiman’s speculative shot deflects off Osman Yusoff and loops over Abdul Hadi Hamid.
42 min: Zulfahmi Arifin with a beautiful free-kick from the right, Safuwan Baharudin soars unmarked, but gets his bearings wrong and the header goes off target.
87 min: Liridon Krasniqi plays a throughball to put substitute Ahmad Shakir on goal, but the latter could not make up his mind and Izwan comes out quickly to thwart him.
90 +2 min: RED CARD. Rizal Ghazali is sent off as he receives a second yellow for throwing the ball away. A melee ensues as the LionsXII try to get him to leave the pitch
quickly. Krasniqi shoves Madhu Mohana and is booked.
LIONSXII: Izwan Mahbud 6.5, Nazrul Ahmad Nazari 6, Madhu Mohana 6, Shakir Hamzah 6, Hafiz Abu Sujad 5.5, Izzdin Shafiq 6, Zulfahmi Arifin 5, Safuwan Baharudin 6.5,
Christopher van Huizen 6.5 (Faritz Abdul Hameed 62) 6, Shahdan Sulaiman 6 (Khairul Nizam 55) 5.5, Faris Ramli 6 (Sahil Suhaimi 75)
KEDAH: Abdul Hadi Hamid, Rajes Perumal (Alif Fadzil 80), Osman Yusoff, Khairul Helmi, Shafizan Hashim, Syazwan Zainon (Rizal Ghazali 72), Liridon Krasniqi, Baddrol
Bakhtiar, Farhan Roslan, Sandro Mendonca, Chidi Edeh (Ahmad Shakir 83).
SHOTS: LionsXII 2 on target, 6 off target; Kedah 2 on target, 6 off target
CORNERS: LionsXII 1; Kedah 0 YELLOW CARDS: LionsXII 2 (Christopher van Huizen, Khairul Nizam); Kedah 3
RED CARD: LionsXII 0, Kedah 1
OFFSIDES: LionsXII 2; Kedah 1
POSSESSION: LionsXII 55 per cent; Kedah 45 per cent
REFEREE: Zamzaidi Katimin 5/10
MATCH RATING: 5.5/10
Terengganu 0 Johor DT II 0
Johor DT 2 Perak 0
Sarawak 1 ATM 0
Selangor 0 Kelantan 3
FELDA 3 T-Team 0
Pahang 4 PDRM 3
Penang 0 PKNS 3