The Malaysian Under-21 side took a well-deserved two-goal lead and hung on for the three points in face of a late Warriors rallyHarimau Muda B broke through for only their first home win of the season when they beat a luckless Warriors FC 2-1 at Pasir Gudang Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was the visitors’ fourth defeat in seven outings but for the Malaysian Under-21 boys it was not only their second win, but a result that took them on to eight points, one ahead of their opponents on this occasion.
Having held Balestier Khalsa to a 0-0 draw ten days earlier, the home side went one better this time as they got out of the starting blocks well and controlled the game for the better part of an hour.
The Young Tigers held a 1-0 lead at half-time, courtesy of a simple, far-post header from defender Syazwan Tajudin, who rose majestically to power home Maxsius Musa’s right- sided corner.
Warriors skipper Daniel Bennett was not 100 per cent before the game and began on the bench, with Zulfadli Zainal Abidin returning to his familiar left-back position. Marin Vidosevic was also back at the heart of the defence partnering Abdil Qaiyyim, after missing two games through suspension.
After an hour Bennett came on for Abdil, though only after the latter had been injured and the home side had doubled their lead at the hour mark through a jinking, individual run by wide midfielder Ridzuan Abdunloh.
After shrugging aside his markers and wrong-footing anyone else standing in his way, the Harimau Muda creative player placed the ball well beyond the reach of Hassan Sunny in the Warriors’ goal.
Hassan was in top form throughout, denying his opponents on a number of occasions when they were exposed, as happened all too frequently, especially in the first half.
But the 2-0 lead may have led to the home side relaxing prematurely or simply becoming nervous when facing a rapidly-improving Warriors team.
With the momentum, the Warriors pulled one back through skipper Mislav Karoglan with a typical poacher’s goal. The Croatian hitman struck from eight yards out after the defence had been unable to clear the ball following a corner that saw the ball initially headed against the bar, and then blocked by defenders before it reached Karoglan.
The Warriors piled on the pressure after that but the home side hung on and were deserved winners on the day, based on their overall performance against a much-vaunted opponent.