LionsXII travel to face bottom-side Kuala Lumpur in a must-win clash, to keep their fading MSL title chances alive after losing ground to second-placed Kelantan
The clash against Kuala Lumpur takes on greater importance for the LionsXII after picking up only a point from their last two matches against Kelantan and Kedah in the MSL. The Lions have lost valuable ground to second-placed Kelantan and have to take maximum points against bottom-side Kuala Lumpur to keep alive their fading title chances.
The Lions lost a two goal lead to draw 3-3 with the Canaries and in his first start since March, LionsXll custodian Izwan Madbud let it three goals on Saturday night at the Jalan Besar stadium.
Speaking to Goal.com Singapore after the match, the visibly disappointed Izwan said, “Every goal keeper will feel bad when three goals go in, because we all want to keep a clean sheet.”
After being sidelined for the last two months, the twenty-one year old appeared to be lacking match fitness and was also slow to react in certain situations in his return to first-team action.
“My performance was below par tonight; I think I was rusty and have a lot to work on,” Izwan added.
He then went on and praised the 7,328 fans who were present at the stadium and said with a smile on his face, “The fans were great tonight and I thank them for the support.”
Apart from Izwan, striker Khairul Amri who finally made his home ‘debut’ after being sidelined for almost a year with injury, also expressed his disappointment in the draw.
When quizzed about his feelings, the striker pondered for a moment and replied, “Mixed feelings. I am happy but also a little upset that the match ended in a draw.
“It should [have] been a win for us tonight, but that’s football.”
The Lions were leading 3-1 in the second-half but two quick-fire goals in a short span of five minutes brought the match back to level terms for the Canaries and the forward gave credit to the visitors.
“I think they took their chances well from the counter-attack.” Amri commented.
Apart from the result, the Lions suffered injury scares to inspirational captain Shahril Ishak and full-back Juma'at Jantan who were rushed to hospital after the game, and coach Sundram identified as key to his side's poor second-half performance.
Shahril Ishak misses out as he will be with his wife who is expecting their child soon.
Coach Sundram will be eager for his side to bounce back in style against Kuala Lumpur and can take motivation from their reverse fixture that the Lions narrowly edged 2-1.
Kuala Lumpur come into this match on the back of a 2-1 defeat to T-Team and have struggled to perform all-season picking up only two points.