Harimau Muda lose pace in the title race as they go down against a spirited Courts Young Lions sideWith fellow title contenders tasting victories days earlier, Harimau Muda knew that they had to win against Courts Young Lions to keep pace.
But the loss of key players during the mid-season transfer window saw Harimau Muda starting the game with a mix of familiar faces and reserve players having their chance at the starting eleven.
Given how the way the game started, it was no surprise that Courts Young Lions broke the deadlock a minute before the half hour mark through Jonathan Toto.
Toto was left unmarked in the box and he made no mistake with his header from a corner kick.
Harimau Muda started the game unconvincingly, giving space for the speedy Faris Ramli in centre of midfield. There were nervy moments in the early stages too for Harimau as Izham Tarmizi made a series of blunders.
The talented Faris would see his last actions of the game in the 15th minute however, as he had to be stretchered out injured, being replaced by Shafiq Ghani.
It was later confirmed that Faris was brought to the hospital for an x-ray for a suspected fracture to his ankle.
Harimau capitalised on Young Lions' loss of Faris in the middle of the park as D.Saarvindran began to see more of the ball and was able to move further and assist his teammates in attack.
Saarvindran almost got through on goal two minutes after the Young Lions goal as he worked his way through the middle of the central defence. It prompted Syazwan Buhari to come off his line and make a last ditch tackle on the Malaysian midfielder at the edge of the box.
More misery would fall onto the Malaysian outfit as coach Ong Kim Swee was ordered off the technical area after he had made a series of protests against the referee’s decision.
The second half saw the visitors trying to claw back into the game and the closest they came was seven minutes from time as captain Affize Faisal had a go at goal from 25 yards out. Syazwan had to brilliantly palm the ball away to ensure his side remained a goal up in the game.
Despite late attempts by Harimau to get back into the game, they were unable to find that elusive equaliser and lost pace in the title race.