MATCH BREAKDOWN: LionsXII vs. Perak
The LionsXII defeated Perak 2-1 in a key away match, which kept the LionsXII in fourth position on the Malaysian Super League (MSL) table. Here is a breakdown of their performance.
Photos courtesy of FAS
Sufian Anuar, Izwan Mahbud, and Shahril Ishak
Goalkeeping (9 out of 10)
Izwan made a quick early save from a good attempt from outside the box, and collected easily again in the 15th minute. The only other time Mahbud was challenged in the first half was when he saved a long range effort in the 39th minute.
Mahbud had plenty of crucial saves and catches again in the second half. He made a save early on that was for naught due to a clumsy penalty given by his defender right afterward, but that did not derail his confidence.
He prevented another goal in the 60th minute after a big defensive error, and savesd a free kickin the 68th minute.
A powerful shot deflected towards goal in the 86th minute but Mahbud was there waiting, as usual. Shortly after, an excellent free kick beat the defence but Mahbud is there to prevent an equalizer off a bounce.
Mahbud closed off his performance by makeing another vital catch in the closing moments of the game that put a stop to Perak's final chance.
Mahbud has been the one true consistent performer in the LionsXII's first eight games, and wins are starting to come now that his teammates are finding their form in attack.
Defence (6.5 out of 10)
The LionsXII stayed cool under pressure in the box early on but Madhu looked a little tentative at the right back position.
Irwan Shah picked up a yellow card late in the first half, and they were exposed by a good ball down the left flank in the 45th minute but Perak didn't get a solid shot in from the delivery.
Safwan Baharudin made a clumsy challenge and conceded yet another penalty once again for the LionsXII.
However, he cannot be found completely at fault as a hole in the defence was created because Baihakki Khaizan found himself too far up the pitch. Baihakki was forced to run back to try to recover ground but was too late.
Another bad sequence for the defence in the 60th minute was left unpunished because Mahbud again bailed out his team.
They looked tentative in the final 30 minutes, and Baihakki got a yellow card in the 67th minute for a silly dangerous tackle.
The closing moments were tense for the LionsXII, and you could possibly chalk up the nervous play to inexperience from a team still gelling together. However, they did not concede a second goal, and that's what matters.
Midfield (8 out of 10)
Juma'at Jantan takes a hopeful shot in the 17th minute that comes to no avail. Juma'at attempts another one in the 19th after it deflects to him from a corner. A third attempt in the 25th minute from long range gives the same result for Juma'at. A long shot from Hariss Harun almost went in.
Hariss Harun did not make his presence felt for most of the second half, but he showed that he only needed a few minutes to make a big difference. Harun looked like he may have won a penalty in the 71st minute and made a frustration tackle shortly afterwards.
Following that, Harun then made an excellent bit of play which leads to an attempt that was blocked, but Shahril Ishak got another chance seconds later and scored.
Harun only needed a two minute stretch to make his mark on the game.
Harun did end up playing a bit wildly in the closing moments, and his tugging of an opponent's shorts and gave away a free kick in a dangerous area in the 89th minute. However, the wall blocked Perak's shot.
Attack (9 out of 10)
The early attack looked good early. Shahdan Sulaiman missed a shot in front of goal in the 11th minute after an excellent pass from Shahril Ishak. Sufian Anuar then made a good run in the 16th and earned a free kick for the LionsXII.
Shahril Ishahk was set up by a headed pass from Sufian and the LionsXII took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute.
After an excellent spell of possession that was keyed by Hariss Harun, Ishak got his second goal with a brilliant header in the 74th minute.
Sufian got himself in a good situation twice in the final minutes, but was unable to get off a good attempt either time.
Khairul Nizam made his return from injury in a 95th minute substitution, and actually managed to test the keeper with a good shot in the limited time that he played. He may prove to make the LionsXII attack even more potent.
Sundram started with a 4-2-3-1 formation. The attack was flowing very well until they conceded the penalty in the second half, and then it turned into a bit of a wild game.
For the second game in a row Sufian terrorized the opposing team with his pace and unselfish play created holes in the Perak defence. He has made an excellent case for a permanent place in the starting line-up, and fans will be clamoring to see more of him. His three assists in two games have been a revelation for the LionsXII, and woe be to the opponents if he ever develops deadly finishing. Sufian was still running his heart out in injury time, which is an encouraging sign for a team that has at times found itself out of energy in the second half.
The man of the match award should be shared between Shahril Ishak and Izwan Mahbud, as Ishak's finishing was perfectly matched by Mahbud's stone-wall keeping to provide the result.
LionsXII hand Perak their first home loss of the season, and stay in fourth (tied at 14 points with third place Terengganu) in the MSL table.
There still needs to be a bit more composure from the defence and the midfield at times, but there's no doubt that this team is slowly beginning to gel together.
What did you think of the LionsXII's performance? Do you think they are on the rise? Sign in and share your thoughts below!
I am never a diehard fan of the local soccer but seeing their last two matches, I would have to say coach Sundram had actually did a great job and the LionsXll did shown big improvement in game and tactics. The coach and team does deserve their merit of appraisal.
Hope to see more of the LionsXII daring offensive play, onguard till the last minute of the game and score more goals, unlike the old toothless lions which always hide in their dam inviting the opponent into their gate. Most importantly also, hope to see the young lions maintain good discipline both on and off the field.
Good job & Well done lions, keep it UP~UP all the way !!!
Players Rating ????
Well I would rate the whole team performance from GK to FWD 8/10 not forgetting the coaching staffs
Keep it up boys!