MATCH BREAKDOWN: LionsXII lose 0-1 to Terengganu
How did the LionsXII fare against Terengganu?
The LionsXII lost 0-1 to Terengganu at Jalan Besar Stadium in a Malaysian Super League match, ending their three-game unbeaten run. SEE FULL MATCH REPORT
The LionsXII started well again, but found themselves in familiar territory in the second half: deflated and unable to keep up with an opponent who seemed to get stronger after the break.
Here's our breakdown of the team's performance after their 0-1 loss to Terengganu.
Goalkeeping (6 out of 10)
Izwan Mahbud was not tested early on and his long balls to the opponent's third struggled to find a target in the first 10 minutes. He made his first save in the 28th minute after a good spell of play from Terengganu, and bailed out his defence. Mahbud made another good save in the 52nd minute, but was unable to stop Francis Doe's shot in the 79th minute after his teammates messed up. He made another good save in the 84th minute. His performances continue to be encouraging as he grows into his role, but unfortunately his hard work was unrewarded.
Defence (4 out of 10)
The LionsXII were not winning the balls cleanly but they were swarming the ball early in the game. Terengganu's counterattacking and speed was dangerous against Singapore's defence throughout the entire game. The LionsXII played good defence against a blazing counterattack in the 21st minute, preventing a score in what looked like it would have been a very good chance at a first goal for Terengganu.
Some problems began to show in the 28th minute, as the keeper was forced to bail out the defence in the 28th minute after the LionsXII back line gave Terengganu too much space just outside the box. Loose defending gave Terengganu a corner in the 48th minute but it fortunately amounted to nothing.
More loose defence left Francis Doe open early in the second half, but Izwan Mahbud saved team again. The crowd went silent in the 54th minute after it seemed like the LionsXII may have given away a penalty, but the referee waved it off.
Hariss Harun, who wasn't playing badly, made a critical error in the 79th minute that led to Doe's goal.
Overall, the LionsXII back line seemed quite disorganized, and could easily have given up more than one goal. This is especially true of the second half, when they got tired and couldn't chase after attackers quite as easily.
Midfield (6.5 out of 10)
Midfield play started off a bit shaky but good low passes gave them an early corner in the 6th minute. Shaiful Esah got an early chance but it rose over the crossbar. An excellent cross was then wasted as no one was able to score after two LionsXII players collide with two Terengganu defenders in a skirmish for the ball.
There seemed to be a lack of patience while trying to move the ball up, though low through balls continued to find success during the latter part of the first half. An amazing passing sequence by the LionsXII was wasted by Firdaus, who was unable to score after his teammates' excellent effort. Attacks down the right flank worked best for Singapore, but they all amounted to nothing.
Taufiq Rahmat came on to replace Esah in the 54th minute, with Esah looking tired after an unbelievable amount of running in the first half. Taufiq did not make a good impact on the game, and made a number of fumbles and mistimed passes.
Attack (5 out of 10)
Shahril Ishahk played decently and even attempted an acrobatic shot from an excellent cross but unfortunately hit nothing but his teammate. He also won a free kick that wasn't rewarded. He also made a number of good runs that his teammates didn't reward with a pass, which is inexplicable because Ishahk was making the most impact on attack for the entire game.
Agu Casmir came on and made little impact, and wasted a beautiful pass from Shahril Ishahk by shooting the ball well wide of the goal. This miss was doubly painful as it came mere minutes before Francis Doe scored against the LionsXII.
The Lions had plenty of chances, including one in which Hariss Harun only needed to tap the ball in to score, but weren't able to capitalize.
Once again, the LionsXII have a lot of questions to answer. As the game wore on, they once again decided to rely on long high balls, which found limited success. They found the most success while playing a flowing passing game, and their best spell of the game was the sequence that ended in a miss from Firdaus.
The defence still looks shaky, and there is not enough communication. They really missed Baihakki Khaizan today, and their play showed it.
Midfield play continues to improve as the players seem to be getting more comfortable with each other, and it looks like they're starting to slowly gel as a unit.
There were simply too many misses for the LionsXII. Both Agu Casmir and Hariss Harun will especially be haunted by their missed goals, even though they weren't the only ones who couldn't score.
It was an unfortunate result for the fans who were very vocal in showing their support for the team, and they kept their energy up for almost the entire match.
What did you think of the match and the LionsXII' performance? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Where is the fitness in the 2nd half? Had always display good performance in the 1st half but destroyed in the 2nd. Agu had yet to display any good goal scoring ability. Shahril is making good of his position as a playmaker but no finishing which leds to a waste of chances.