MATCH BREAKDOWN: LionsXII vs. Selangor
How did the LionsXII fare against Selangor?
The LionsXII were unable to hold on to a 1-0 lead against Selangor after Sufian Anuar's excellent headed goal. With the result finishing at a 1-1 draw, here is our analysis of their performance.
Goalkeeping (6.5 out of 10)
Hyrulnizam Juma'at started between the sticks in place of the missing Izwan Mahbud. He made a quick clearance of the ball in the second minute from a dangerous cross. He also maked a save from a long shot in the 12 minute. He wasn't challenged much again until the LionsXII were taken off guard by a cross in the 49th minute. A collision early in the second half caused him to get treatment, after a few but after some tense moments he was able to get back up. Hyrulnizam made a key error when he was unable to stop Bosko Balaban's free kick from right outside the box, as he was caught out of position and really should have been able to save the shot. However, he redeemed himself later on when Balaban got another excellent header in the 92nd minute, forcing Hairulzam to make a heroic save.
Defence (6.5 out of 10)
Defence seemed a bit loose in the beginning of the game. Early fouls put the ball into dangerous positions and a few panicked clearances in the first 10 minutes. Harun played well in the first half and prevented a good run from being completed in the LionsXII box. Shakir Hamzah then made a miraculous save when he headed it off the line in the 28th minute.
The Singapore back line left Balaban open for a few a free headers and were lucky not to be punished numerous times. Their foul in the 80th minute opened up the chance for Balaban's goal.
Midfield (6 out of 10)
The LionsXII midfield were innefective in the midfield for most of the first, giving up too much free space for their opponents. There was more life in the second half as the midfielders and defenders started pushing higher up the field and seem to have caused Selangor discomfort. Taufiq substituted in but was largely ineffective.
Attack (7 out of 10)
Sufian Anuar's hard work won Singapore a corner in the 15th minute and pressured Selangor the entire game. Khairul Nizam made a bad decision to shoot from long range even with two teammates running unopposed on the flanks in the 32nd minute and ad a golden chance to score with a header in the 59th minute but could only send the ball straight to the keeper.
Sufian Anuar was the hero for the LionsXII offence again, and he made an amazing run in the 63rd minute and scored a wonderful header from an excellent cross from Safirul Sulaiman. Though they didn't do much in the first half, signs of life in the second led to a goal and it should be noted that they were missing captain Shahril Ishak.
The first half clearly belonged to Selangor and the LionsXII may have been lucky not to concede any goals. Balaban ran circles around the LionsXII defence. The referee has made some strange decisions all game, and both sides can agree that it was an erratic day for the officials. Izwan Mahbud, Baihakki Khaizan and Shahrul Ishak were dearly missed and many key possessions proved this.
The 1-1 draw was a fair result, and the LionsXII will have to pick themselves up and continue to work hard. Sufian Anuar continues to be a joy to watch and is undoubtedly the hardest worker on the team.
What did you think of the LionsXII performance? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!