MATCH BREAKDOWN: LionsXII draw 1-1 against Selangor
A breakdown of the LionsXII's performance against Selangor.
Photo courtesy of the Football Association of Singapore
The LionsXII drew 1-1 against Selangor at the Bukit Jalil Stadium, with goals from Shahril Ishak and Selangor's G Gurusamy at the end of the first half being the only ones scored in the evening. FULL STORY
Izwan Mahbud had a solid game. He made an easy save from a free kick in the 6th minute and stopped a lovely Selangor move in the 14th minute. He made another save from a long range shot in the 21st minute. He saved another free kick on the 24th minute, but was powerless to stop Gurusamy's sensational strike from outside the box right before halftime.
Mahbud made a few more good saves in the second half, and once again bailed out the LionsXII defensive line a few times after through balls carved them up.
It was a solid performance from the young Mahbud, especially with his teammates' struggles on defence. You simply can't blame him for not saving Gurusamy's strike, as it was just a wonderful effort that would have beaten almost any keeper.
Defence (6 out of 10)
The LionsXII's defence seemed a little bit less frantic in the beginning compared to the previous game against Terengganu. However, the flanks were very exposed, as usual.
They were opened up in the 14th minute and were lucky that Selangor didn't get a good shot on goal. Baihakki Khaizan played a solid game, and made his presence known in the game. You could see the difference that he makes in the back line, and he made a number of key stops throughout the game.
Selangor was misused a number of key chances, and it rarely looked like the LionsXII defended well as a unit. A high pressure attack from Selangor gave the LionsXII defence a lot problems, and they were continually carved up with good through balls and runs along the flanks.
Less than two minutes after Shahril Ishak's goal, Guru was left open to score a sensational long-range strike.
The second half opened with Selangor more confident and they found holes in the LionsXII defence. There were a lot of instances of sleepy defending, and the LionsXII players seemed to give up after being beaten by their man.
The LionsXII looked tired in the last 15 minutes and continued to be exposed by the speed and accurate through balls of Selangor. In fact, they were lucky not to have conceded two or three goals instead of just one throughout the match.
Midfield (5.5 out of 10)
The LionsXII are relied too much on the long ball instead of playing patiently through the middle. There was a noticeable lack of creativity in the middle, due to some key players missing and some players playing out of position.
Attack (6 out of 10)
Agu Casmir's first meaningful possession led to nothing due to a bad pass back to Shahril Ishak. A free kick in the 19th minute gave two opportunities for a score from Baihakki Khaizan and Agu, but Selangor's keeper was on point and saved both attempts.
The LionsXII's attack had only one true shining moment, when a critical error by the Selangor defence allowed Raihan to recover a ball deep in the box. His subsequent pass to Shahril Ishahk led to a goal after a nice show of skill from the captain. Unfortunately, Ishak missed a header right before halftime that would have given the LionsXII the lead again.
Shahril Ishak had a chance to lay on a good pass to Agu in the 66th minute but was unable to find a hole in the Selangor's defence. The last 15 minutes of the match showed little action, except for one counterattack where possession was ultimately wasted and didn't end up with a shot on goal.
The LionsXII will certainly be happy to come away with a point after this match. They did not look like they could cope with Selangor's speed and there was a lot of lazy defending on the flanks. It took a few key blocks from Izwan Mahbud, Baihakki Khaizan, and Hariss Harun to salvage the point for the LionsXII.
In fact, it was more of a case of Selangor wasting a lot of good opportunities, and that's never a good sign.
An over-reliance on the effective high long ball yielded few results for the LionsXII, and Agu Casmir (who has been ineffective this season) ended up being substituted in the second half. The team is going to need to find other avenues of attack, as their opponents now know exactly what to expect.