No bite, no clue
REPORTING FROM SHAH ALAM
(George Pantelidis 24)
Zero ideas, zero goals, zero points.
The LionsXII left the Shah Alam Stadium with their tails between their legs last night, after they were beaten 1-0 by a Selangor outfit who, despite playing their 12th match in 40 days, looked more energetic all over the pitch.
Sure, questions will be asked about how Australian defender George Pantelidis was left unmarked to nod home the winner in the 24th minute off a corner kick.
But perhaps of more pressing concern for LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad will be how toothless his side's attack was last night.
The LionsXII's frontline was so poor that Selangor goalkeeper Farizal Marlias probably could have had a siesta in goal and still end the match with his clean sheet intact.
They registered only two efforts on target - a hopeful long-range effort and a tame header - which both went straight at Farizal.
Their only other attempt of note was Safuwan Baharudin's eighth-minute free-kick which went into the side netting.
The LionsXII looked nothing like the side that thumped Malaysian Super League (MSL) leaders Pahang 4-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.
By comparison, Selangor looked far slicker going forward.
After just six minutes, a deft touch by the league's leading scorer Paulo Rangel set his strike partner Thamil Arasu through on goal, but the latter hesitated and was denied by Afiq Yunos' fine tackle.
Even after Pantelidis diverted Rangel's header into goal from an Andik Vermansyah corner, Selangor looked hungry for more.
A slaloming run by speedster S Kunanlan in the 32nd minute stretched the LionsXII defence, but Rangel fired wide at the end of the move.
Rangel looked good for a goal throughout the game but LionsXII Izwan Mahbud denied his well-guided header with a great save 11 minutes after the break.
Thamil then wasted another good chance, before Izwan was again on hand to thwart Pantelidis minutes before the end.
Fandi was at a loss to explain his team's showing.
When asked if the poor performance was a one-off, he said: "I think so. We were definitely below par.
"The boys were lethargic and made basic errors, so it was very frustrating.
"Maybe the atmosphere was a bit too much for some of our players.
"But we didn't deserve to win because we didn't create enough."
The coach added that the team would play two friendly games in Myanmar in an attempt to rectify their problems, before their next MSL game at home against Johor Darul Ta'zim on May 15.
Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic said: "We should have scored two or three more goals tonight.
"Thamil and Paulo had fantastic chances to put the game to bed earlier but I'm not worried they missed.
"As long as we keep creating chances, we can win games."
And so it was, that was the difference between the two sides last night.
- ATM 4 PKNS 1
- Pahang 4 Sime Darby 1
- Terengganu 0 Perak 2
BLOW BY BLOW
Safuwan Baharudin goes close with his viciously swerving freekick that bulges the side netting.
GOAL! Andik Vermansyah’s corner is met by Paulo Rangel at the back post and Steve Pantelidis rises unmarked to head into the bottom corner.
Rangel climbs highest to meet Andik’s deep cross but Izwan Mahbud produces a stupendous one-handed diving save.
LionsXII don’t learn from their mistake. Pantelidis is again left unmarked to head Andik’s header, but Izwan comes up with another top save.
DID YOU KNOW...
The LionsXII have conceded first eight times in their 14 MSL games so far this season.
- SELANGOR: Farizal Marlias, Bunyamin Umar, Shahrom Kalam, Rizal Fahmi, Azmi Muslim, S Kunanlan, George Pantelidis, S Veenod, Andik Vermansyah (Fitri Shazwan 84), Thamil Arasu (Abdul Shukor Jusoh 82), Paulo Rangel (Afiq Azmi 91)
- LIONSXII: Izwan Mahbud 7, Madhu Mohana 6, Afiq Yunos 6.5, Shakir Hamzah 5.5, Hafiz Abu Sujad 5.5 (Nazrul Ahmad Nazari 59, 5.5), Aqhari Abdullah 5 (Zulfahmi Arifin 46, 5.5), Raihan Rahman 5.5, Safuwan Baharudin 6, Faris Ramli 5.5, Khairul Amri 5.5, Sufian Anuar 5 (Firdaus Kasman 66, 5)
- Shots: Selangor 3 on 6 off; LionsXII 2 on 5 off
- Corners: Selangor 4, LionsXII 3
- Offsides: Selangor 3, LionsXII 0
- Yellow cards: Selangor 1 (Paulo Rangel), LionsXII 3 (Raihan Rahman, Zulfahmi Arifin, Shakir Hamzah)
- Red card: Selangor 0, LionsXII 0
- Attendance: 24,000
- Referee: Nafeez Abdul Wahab 5/10
- Match rating: 6/10
- TNP Man of the Match: Paulo Rangel (Selangor)
We should have scored two or three more goals tonight. Thamil (Arasu) and Paulo (Rangel) had fantastic chances to put the game to bed earlier.
—Selangor coach Mehmet Durakovic
BLOW BY BLOW
Safuwan Baharudin goes close with his viciously swerving free-kick that bulges the side netting.
GOAL! Andik Vermansyah's corner is met by Paulo Rangel at the back post and Steve Pantelidis rises unmarked to head into the bottom corner.
Rangel climbs highest to meet Andik's deep cross but Izwan Mahbud produces a stupendous one-handed diving save.
LionsXII don't learn from their mistake. Pantelidis is again left unmarked to head Andik's header, but Izwan comes up with another top save.