The Malaysians struck twice early at the start of both halves to condemn their opponents to 18 games without a win despite having a man sent off before half-timeIt happened not once, but twice. The Courts Young Lions must have been eyeing a first victory in the 2013 S.League season before kick-off against Harimau Muda on Thursday night at the Jalan Besar Stadium, but two quick goals put paid to those hopes.
The Malaysians pounced within the opening minute of each half to strike twice and the league’s bottom side never recovered despite clawing back a consolation, losing 2-1 against a side who played with 10 men after 38 minutes.
The hosts got off to a disastrous start when they fell behind after one minute of play from a freekick near the left touchline conceded by M. Anumanthan, who was called up to the latest Singapore national team on Tuesday.
Centreback Syazwan Tajudin hit a low cross that skidded past Young Lions custodian Syazwan Buhari, who was distracted by Syafwan Syahlan’s run in front of him; the latter was credited with the goal.
Sahil Suhaimi responded with a swerving effort that narrowly cleared the bar five minutes later, with Young Tigers goalkeeper Hafizul Hakim then doing well to block a near-post flick from Afiq Yunos at a corner.
Aide Iskandar made an early change as he brought on Fareez Farhan for Nur Ridho, just as Syawal Nordin nodded a freekick straight at a relieved Syazwan in the 32nd minute.
The visitors went down to 10 men in the 38th minute when Ridzuan Abdunloh reacted angrily to a hard challenge from Al-Qaasimy Rahman with a silly shove on the Young Lions right-back, leaving referee Muhd Taqi with no choice but to send the winger off.
Sherif El-Masri drove a left-footed attempt inches wide as half-time approached and the Young Lions were yet again dealt an early blow when play resumed after the break.
Barely 30 seconds into the second half, Hanif Dzahir smashed a 30-yard strike that crashed off the bar before hitting Syazwan and going over the line to put them 2-0 up.
Hafizul made a superb fingertip save to tip over Sahil’s rasping 25-yard drive in the 52nd minute as the Young Lions sought a way back into the game, before Iqbal Hussain poorly headed the resultant corner over from an unmarked position.
It took them 73 minutes to make their one-man advantage pay off, the towering Afiq looping a header off a deep cross to pull one back.
Fareez then set up Sahil for a good chance in the 81st minute but the striker dragged a poor effort wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
That was to prove their best opportunity to salvage a point as Razip Ismail’s charges held on to record the win and prolong the Young Lions’ winless streak to 18 games.