LionsXII rue missed chances in 2-1 defeat
LionsXII left to rue their missed chances as PDRM make theirs count
PDRM FA: 2
(Dramane Traore 10 pen, 30)
(Safuwan Baharudin 28)
If you don't buy a ticket, you won't win the lottery.
So goes the saying in football.
Last night at the Shah Alam Stadium, the LionsXII bought plenty of tickets during their Malaysian Super League (MSL) match against PDRM FA.
But the lottery -- in this case the three points -- eluded them as they fell to a 2-1 defeat.
Fandi Ahmad's men registered 11 shots on target last night.
Only one, Safuwan Baharudin's header in the 28th minute, bulged the net.
PDRM, meanwhile, were ruthless in front of goal.
The Cops had just four shots on target all game, but converted two of them.
Dramane Traore, the Malian striker, was on the end of both strikes, which sandwiched Safuwan's goal.
The former Lokomotiv Moscow man is the MSL's leading scorer with 13 goals.
Fandi could only shake his head at the final whistle.
"Not our rezeki (luck in Malay)," he told The New Paper.
"We had so many shots tonight... We camped in their half for the entire second period.
"Their goalkeeper, for me, was man of the match.
"We're disappointed we couldn't score a second goal and that we let them score so soon after we did, but I am quite happy with our overall performance."
Fandi certainly had his work cut out before the match.
Just 24 hours before kick-off, he was dealt a blow when midfielder-turned-centreback Zulfahmi Arifin rolled his ankle in training.
And at half-time last night, Fandi's star performer Safuwan - who was Zulfahmi's replacement and carrying a foot injury going into the game - had to be withdrawn with suspected concussion.
There was little doubt, though, PDRM's foreign imports made the difference last night.
Traore was a handful for the LionsXII backline all night long, and scored his first from a penalty in the 10th minute after the ball struck Khairul Amri's arm.
And just two minutes after Safuwan had levelled the score with a superb header in the 28th minute, Traore was on hand to head home from close range.
The provider on that occasion was the impressive Jaime Braganca, a recent signing for PDRM in the mid-season transfer window.
The Portuguese midfielder was singled out by Fandi as a threat before the match, and he showed why with his powerful, direct runs which the LionsXII had no answer to.
Ali Ashfaq, the talented Maldivian forward, expertly kept the ball while Gambian winger Mohamadou Sumareh stretched the Singaporean side after being sent on as a second-half substitute.
PDRM coach Azman Adnan, known as the "Million Ringgit Man" in his playing days after Selangor made a RM1 million ($400,000) bid to sign him from Kuala Lumpur FA in 1993, was delighted his team snapped a run of three losses.
"We showed great fighting spirit tonight," he said.
"I just hope we can kick on from this result. The boys just need to believe in themselves."
LINE-UPS & LIONSXII RATINGS
- PDRM: Badrulzaman Halim, Isma Alif (Mohamadou Sumareh 59), Afif Amiruddin, Arman Fareez, Shahruain Abu Samah, Ahmad Nizam, Jaime Braganca, Faizal Abu Bakar, Ali Ashfaq (Fauzi Majid 86), Dramane Traore, Fekry Tajudin
- LIONSXII: Izwan Mahbud 6, Nazrul Ahmad Nazari 6.5, Madhu Mohana 7, Safuwan Baharudin 7 (Firdaus Kasman 46, 6), Shakir Hamzah 5.5, Faris Ramli 5.5 (Sahil Suhaimi 73), Raihan Rahman 5.5 (Faritz Hameed 46, 5.5), Izzdin Shafiq 7, Hafiz Abu Sujad 6, Khairul Amri 5.5, Khairul Nizam 6
- Attendance: 1,500
- Referee: Nafeez Abdul Wahab 5/10
- Match rating: 6/10
TNP MAN OF THE MATCH: JAIME BRAGANCA
The big Portuguese midfielder tends to hit the deck easily, but can be unplayable if he wants to. The LionsXII had no answer to his powerful, direct runs and he impressed in the centre, where he started the match, and out wide later on.
Blow by blow
10 MINS: Bad start for the LionsXII. Khairul Amri handles the ball in the area, and Dramane Traore tucks home the resultant spot-kick past Izwan Mahbud.
28 MINS: Equaliser! Safuwan Baharudin thumps in a bullet header from 15 metres out to level the score. Game on?
30 MINS: The joy is short-lived, as Jaime Braganca crosses for Traore to head in his second of the night. 2-1 to PDRM.
68 MINS: PDRM substitute Mohamadou Sumareh almost puts the game beyond the LionsXII's reach, but his shot whizzes just past the post.
69 MINS: Khairul Nizam fluffs the LionsXII's best chance for an equaliser, sending his header just wide of Badrulzaman Abdul Halim's far post.
65 MINS: Badrulzaman produces a stunning one-handed save to stop Nazrul Nazari's header.
- Sarawak v Felda (9.45pm)
- Selangor v Terengganu (10pm)
- Sime Darby v Perak (10pm)
- Pahang v Johor Darul Ta'zim (10pm)
LIONSXII'S NEXT MATCH
- v Kelantan (July 4, 9pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)